Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Who you gonna call?

Uncle Eric has adopted his unique brand of localism and seems to be instructing councils on how the can save money left right and centre, but when it comes to being thrifty with his own Department he could do better. Recently DCLG launched a barrier busting website that is already gathering dust. This would not be a problem if, as many of us internally know, it cost a wedge to develop. So here is my latest FoI request.

Dear Chums

A few months ago I was busily replacing the toner cartridge of a well used and loved laserjet printer when I heard some singing coming from a meeting room deep within Eland House. At first  I was slightly confused and could only faintly make out the familiar tune. I hunted down the room and managed to peak a look into at the meeting. I am fairly certain I saw Nick Sheridan-Westlake dancing badly as he belted out the following...
If there's something strange
in your neighborhood
Who you gonna call? - Ghostbusters!
If there's something weird
and it don't look good
Who you gonna call? - Ghostbusters!

His audience sat impassive, slightly embarrassed and bored but Nick continued with his best Ray Parker Jr impression. He then insisted that everyone joined him another rendition and he cunningly substituted the word 'Ghostbusters' to 'Barrierbusters'. The man is a genius - No wonder the LGC recently awarded him 15th place in his list of 50 local government movers and shakers. Though from Nicks dance moves I think he is more a shaker. Actually, I am expecting to make the top 50 next year after the lovely Emma Maier tweeter an apology for the "huge oversight"of my exclusion.

So this meeting was the start of the venture which now is known to the millions (or possibly handful) of users who routinely use the DCLG's Barrier Busting website (http://barrierbusting.communities.gov.uk/)
Can I request the following information in these difficult economic times?
1) How much has be spent on developing the website and how much is being spent on maintaining, updating, moderating website.
2) Who built the website and how many person days were involved in the development and project management,
3) Number of pageviews and unique visitors by month since launch.

I know there are rumours within DCLG that a shed load of cash has been wasted on this website and it is attract as much traffic as the fresh fruit aisle during Uncle Eric's weekly shop.

Yours here to save the world,




  1. Just fuck off you unfunny arse. This is all just so much ultra vires self-serving bullshit. Go away and stay away. Wanker.

  2. Hmm Derek, think you've touched a nerve there for NSW - wonder if the S stands for SPAD? Ultra vires? Thinks s/he missed law 101.

    Please keep on. I would like to see one FOI for every daft question that gets asked by MPs in the House - a few examples of which have been: Q. How much did the Audit Commission employees spend on phoning the speaking clock (A. Bugger all - usually only engineers testing lines).

    Or Q. how many parking fines were paid on behalf of employees A. - none at all.

    How much parliamentary time is wasted by these pantomime dames trying to smear for their own, thinly disguised hate campaigns?

    Eric Pickles made a point of asking local government to speak to him directly rather than waste money using lobbyists. Pity he has to set up these charades in the House rather than directly approaching the Chief Execs of the organisations in his firing line. But that wouldn't feed the sensational headlines he's feeding the Torygraph and the Red Tops, would it?

  3. NSW - be careful, all that anger will make you ill

  4. oh dear I seem to have upset NSW...whoops!

    Some good idea there Izzy J. I will follow up some of these in future requests.

    Thanks for the kind words. Being a private in the army of armchairs auditors can be lonely experience so any feedback is very welcome indeed. I obviously have to protect my cover at DCLG so never get a chance to find out what people really think of my shenanigans.

  5. Well said, NSW. Nice to see a like-minded fellow.

  6. hello Giles!

  7. Hello dearie!! Where's me washboard?