HC Deb 21 March 2000 vol 346 cc479-80W
Mr. Maclennan

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list the expenditure incurred by his Department, agencies and non-departmental public bodies on(a) the setting up and (b) the operation of websites, indicating the cases in which the expenditure has been above that budgeted; and if he will list for each website (i) the topics which have been covered, (ii) the current average number of hits per month and (iii) the estimated expenditure on each website for each of the next three years. [115393]

Mr. Hain

The FCO has four websites:

  1. (a) The main FCO website (www.fco.gov.uk) covers all aspects of the UK's external relations, including regular updates on current developments, travel, consular and trade matters, as well as providing material on British domestic policy for overseas audiences. Relaunched in 1998 it receives c. 1.5–2 million hits per month.
  2. (b) The 'Planet Britain 2000' (www.planet-britain.org) website and accompanying CD-ROM is a wide-ranging site aimed at a youth audience overseas. It carries a wealth of information about British education, culture, music, sport, technology and fashion. It receives 350,000 hits per month.
  3. (c) 'Information From Britain' (ww.informationfrombritain.com) is Whitehall's first e-commerce site, allowing customers worldwide to order and pay electronically for Foreign Office publications. It was set up in 1998 and receives c. 40,000 hits per month.
  4. (d) The FCO's Human Rights Project Fund database is published on the Human Rights in Foreign Policy site (hrpd.fco.gov.uk) which receives about 16,000 hits per month.

The set up costs of the above sites were:

  1. (a) £55,225
  2. (b) £100,000
  3. (c) £96,000
  4. (d) £18,000.

All contracts were awarded by competitive tender. Expected running costs over the next three years are the staff costs for the FCO's three Internet editors and ancillary staff, amounting to under £130,000 p.a.

The FCO main website has won six major international awards in the last two years.