Website development costs

Kyle Beale made this Freedom of Information request to Northamptonshire Police

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was successful.

Dear Northamptonshire Police,

To help assist with a study in to cost effectiveness of public sector websites, can you please provide me with:

a) design and development costs to launch (single figure)
b) ongoing hosting, licensing and maintenance costs (per year or other suitable measure)
c) brief overview of server technologies used (e.g. Microsoft .NET, Apache/PHP, etc.)

I fully understand that contractual agreements, tender documents and other materials may be commercial in confidence, but do hope that you can assist
with indication of costs and technology as other forces have done for me already.

Yours faithfully,

Kyle Beale

Keen Tess, Northamptonshire Police

RE: FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 - REQUEST FOR INFORMATION
Our Ref: 002316/10

I write in reply to your e-mail received 30/06/10 requesting information
as reproduced below:

To help assist with a study in to cost effectiveness of public
sector websites, can you please provide me with:

a) design and development costs to launch (single figure)
b) ongoing hosting, licensing and maintenance costs (per year or
other suitable measure)
c) brief overview of server technologies used (e.g. Microsoft .NET,
Apache/PHP, etc.)

I fully understand that contractual agreements, tender documents
and other materials may be commercial in confidence, but do hope
that you can assist
with indication of costs and technology as other forces have done
for me already.

Our reference for the request is 002316/10.

Your request is being processed and you may expect a reply within 20
working days, which will be 28/07/10. In some circumstances we may not be
able to achieve this timescale, but if this is likely to be the case you
will be informed at the earliest opportunity and given a revised
timescale.

Yours sincerely

Tess Keen
Data Protection/Freedom of Information

Tess Keen
Information Unit Team Leader
Freedom of Information/Data Protection

(Telephone 03000 111 222 Ext 8003| 2 Facsimile 01604 888304

: Email [email address]

+Address Force Headquarters, Wootton Hall, Northampton, NN4 OJQ

Security Classification: The contents of this email should be treated
as RESTRICTED unless otherwise
indicated.

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Brown Colin, Northamptonshire Police

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Beale

RE: FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 - REQUEST FOR INFORMATION
Our Ref: 002316/10

With reference to your e-mail received 29/06/10 requesting information as
reproduced below:

To help assist with a study in to cost effectiveness of public
sector websites, can you please provide me with:

a) design and development costs to launch (single figure)
b) ongoing hosting, licensing and maintenance costs (per year or
other suitable measure)
c) brief overview of server technologies used (e.g. Microsoft .NET,
Apache/PHP, etc.)

I fully understand that contractual agreements, tender documents
and other materials may be commercial in confidence, but do hope
that you can assist
with indication of costs and technology as other forces have done
for me already.

I can confirm that Northamptonshire Police holds the information requested
as follows:

a) The web site has never been launced or had an intial go live date as
such. It has been developed and evolved in response to operational,
government and public requirements. Therefore there are no design and
development costs to launch.

b) We do have a website host called 'Sequence' at an annual cost, details
of which I have to advise you that Northamptonshire Police cannot provide
you with under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. Therefore, and in
accordance with that Act, please take this letter as a Refusal Notice to
this particular request.

Section 17 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 requires
Northamptonshire Police, when refusing to provide such information
(because the information is exempt) to provide you, the applicant, with a
notice which: (a) states that fact, (b) specifies the exemption in
question and (c) states (if that would not otherwise be apparent) why the
exemption applies.

The statutory exemption applicable to the information not disclosed are;

Section 43 - Commercial Interests. Disclosure of this information would
breach the commercial interests of the company if its disclosure under
this act would, or would be likely to, prejudice commercial interests of
any person.

This is a qualified and class-based exemption. This means that the
legislators, when writing this piece of legislation, considered that the
release of this type of information would cause harm to either the
authority or individuals involved. Therefore the authority does not need
to carry out a harm test for this exemption.

I am required to consider the public interest in whether this exemption
should or should not be applied in any particular case.

Public Interest Test:
Factors favouring disclosure
Accountability - the public should be aware of how funds are utilised that
reflect the effectiveness and efficiency of the Force

Factors favouring non-disclosure
Interests of third parties - Third party interests might be jeopardised by
release of information relating to sensitive commercial information held
about business, financial, contractual or operational issues. Future
pricing structures etc may be affected and our relationships with the
supplier may be damaged.

Balancing Test
The public interest test is centered on whether this information should be
released to the world so that any person can view this information not
just you as the requestor. Thus, although this information may be
interesting to the public I do not see how its release can benefit the
community at large. Having weighed up the argument, I feel the balance
lies in withholding this information, as the public interest in disclosing
commercially sensitive information is outweighed by the potential
consequences to the relationship with suppliers.

The maintenance costs are part of the Forces' Coporate Communications
Departments on going costs.

c) The technology is Microsoft based. Microsoft web and SQL servers are
used working mostly with ASP.NET and some classical ASP.

I trust you find this information to be satisfactory but if you have any
further queries please do not hesitate to contact me.

Northamptonshire Police provides a review and appeals procedure within the
terms of the Freedom of Information Act 2000. If you decide to make an
appeal and, having followed the full process you are still dissatisfied,
you will then have the right to direct your comments to the Information
Commissioner who will give due consideration to the matter. See Appendix
'a' attached.

Yours sincerely

Colin Brown C1199 | Data Protection/FOI Officer
Information Unit, Professional Standards Department
03000 111 222 | Ext 2355
[email address]
Force Headquarters, Wootton Hall, Northampton, NN4 0JQ
In my absence please contact Ext 8003

The contents of this e-mail should be treated as RESTRICTED unless
otherwise indicated.

<<appeals procedure.doc>>

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Dear Colin,

Thanks for the response, although I am disappointed that you're unable to answer my request when so many other forces have managed to do so in very few words. Here's a good example:
http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/we...

You can see many other successful ones here:
http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/user/kyle_...

Perhaps the wording of question (a) wasn't clear enough - if you omit 'to launch' from it, does it become answerable? Presumably there were some design and development costs as the website exists. If your website is developed internally and therefore doesn't incur a publishable cost, could you please clarify the number of staff members that were involved in designing and developing the current website so that I can make my own estimates?

Regarding question (b) - whilst I do not agree that the hosting and maintenance costs are commercially sensitive, perhaps you can provide more information about the company with which you host the website so that I can visit their website and make my own estimates?

Regarding hosting and maintenance costs in question (b) - closed-source proprietary software powers your website as answered in (c). This type of software usually incurs annual software licensing fees, so please include them in your follow-up to (b).

Thanks,

Kyle Beale

Brown Colin, Northamptonshire Police

Dear Kyle

I have forwarded your comments to our website officer to see whether we can elaborate further on our reply as you have suggested.

Kind regards

Colin Brown C1199 | Data Protection/FOI Officer
Information Unit, Professional Standards Department
03000 111 222 | Ext 2355
[email address]
Force Headquarters, Wootton Hall, Northampton, NN4 0JQ
In my absence please contact Ext 8003
The contents of this e-mail should be treated as RESTRICTED unless otherwise indicated.

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Brown Colin, Northamptonshire Police

Dear Kyle

With reference to my previous response, please see additional information in the light of your comments which I hope you will find useful.

a. There are two members of staff who develope and maintain the Force web site. This includes re-designs, provision of CMSs (again built in house), graphic work, multi-media (eg podcast and video), general updates and changes. Safer Community Team and News content is updated via a CMS - again built in house by the web team.

All development work is done in house - there are no additional costs here.

There is no current knowledge or accurate record of exactly when the site was originally set up and indeed it's costs. The site was 'born' over nine years ago and current staff don't have this information.

b. The companies name that hosts the site is Sequence - www.sequence.co.uk

c. Proprietary software/hardware license fees are included within the hosts costs.

Kind regards

Colin Brown C1199 | Data Protection/FOI Officer
Information Unit, Professional Standards Department
03000 111 222 | Ext 2355
[email address]
Force Headquarters, Wootton Hall, Northampton, NN4 0JQ
In my absence please contact Ext 8003
The contents of this e-mail should be treated as RESTRICTED unless otherwise indicated.

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Michael Walden left an annotation ()

This might be of use in getting more information about hosting costs for this site:

The Central Office of Information (COI) require that public sector websites provide details of IT costs (including hosting) as part of their TG128 guidelines (http://www.coi.gov.uk/guidance.php?page=...).

While this applies to central government departments and NDPBs, I'm not 100% certain it applies to police authorities. That said, it might be useful to show them this in an attempt to get the information out of them.