Bassetlaw Council chiefs defend spending £132,000 on new website

Launch of Bassetlaw Youth Development Task Force scheme.  Meeting led by Leader of Bassetlaw District Council Coun Simon Greaves  (w120905-7b)
Launch of Bassetlaw Youth Development Task Force scheme. Meeting led by Leader of Bassetlaw District Council Coun Simon Greaves (w120905-7b)

Bassetlaw District Council bosses have defended the decision to spend £132,000 on developing its new website.

The council’s ‘Digital by Default’ site was launched in October last year and allows residents to access services online.

Bosses say the six-figure sum, which was revealed as part of a Freedom of Information request, does not just cover the costs of ‘building’ the website.

Council leaders claim the money also allowed them to build and introduce a number of back office systems that will help make services more accessible and generate future savings.

Leader of Bassetlaw District Council, Simon Greaves, said: “Technology is moving faster than ever and we have to be able respond to the way that people chose to interact and transact with the council.

“Gone are the days when a council website was just a place to find a phone number or read a news article, we need to offer residents fully automated services that can be accessed as and when they choose to.”

The council told the Guardian that 3,768 Bassetlaw residents have registered a MyAccount, 12,000 payments have been taken online and more than 500 recipients of benefits have had their claims processed quicker.

Residents can use the site to: Complete benefit applications, set-up direct debits, report a missed bin and book an MOT.

Councillor Kevin Dukes, cabinet member for co-operatives and corporate services, said: “This cost does not simply reflect the ‘website’ itself as new systems and processes have been integrated that have greatly benefitted the lives of Bassetlaw residents. In the long term, this investment in council’s services will help to provide a more efficient, streamlined and convenient service for Bassetlaw residents and will also help to save taxpayers money.”