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Departmental Internet

Volume 508: debated on Thursday 8 April 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many complaints his Department received regarding difficulties using its website in each of the last three years; and if he will make a statement. (325198)

There have been no complaints about the DEFRA website in the last three years through DEFRA’s formal complaints process or via ministerial correspondence.

We do not keep statistics of the ad hoc website feedback received by e-mail through the “Contact Us” option on the site. Where negative comments are received they are generally about the content rather than the operation of the website.

In the month following the September 2009 redesign of the DEFRA website we received about 120 e-mails—many more than usual. This generally arose from unfamiliarity with the new design, and the in-house DEFRA web team followed up and helped overcome any temporary difficulties among users.

In March 2010 DEFRA carried out a random website user survey which invited visitors to the DEFRA website to give a general comment on the website, as well as answer a series of structured questions about what they were using it for. Approximately two thirds of these general comments were negative. Many were not specifically about the website but they are all being followed up by the in- house team.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much his Department spent on external website design consultants in each of the last three years; and if he will make a statement. (325216)

Expenditure on external website design consultants in the last three years is shown in the following table.

Design consultancy costs (£)

2007-08

0

2008-09

59,447

2009-10

56,979

Full external costs for the DEFRA website for this period were provided in the answer given on 27 January 2010, Official Report, column 871W to the hon. Member for Welwyn Hatfield (Grant Shapps).