Wednesday 2 December 2009

How not to design a website : Council pays A Councillor's Own Company over the odds for parish website

It has been brought to my attention that Langley Parish council have recently paid a company run by one of their local parish councillors to design and build a website for Langley village in Kent.

Apart from the obvious conflict of interest in voting to pay yourself to do work for your own parish council the design of the website is unbelievably poor and extremely difficult to navigate.

A free option for parish councils is available from Kent County Council that allows local parishes to maintain their own websites and content - all at no cost to them. Despite this Langley Parish Council appear to have decided to pay a company run by one of their councillors over £6000 to produce a website for them. In addition the councillor's company are being paid over £100 per month to maintain the site. All of this would have been available for no cost from KCC and any member of the parish council could have updated the site.

You can view the £6000 Langley Parish website here and compare it to the Linton parish website that is run for free by Kent County Council. Which do you think is the easier to view and navigate and better value for money? Do you really believe that the Langley website is worth £6000? In fact the records appear to show that the total spent on the site is approaching £13,000. It would seem to be virtually impossible to justify this level of spending on the quality of website provided.

According to the minutes of Langley Parish Council, no mention is made of any personal interest in the decision being made - despite the councillor (Hans Dieter Reichert) being part of the council making the decision. Make your own minds up whether this is a case of corrupt practice by our locally elected representatives or just an example of a parish council wasting public money for no reason.
You can find out more about this story on the Lenham Net website.

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