back to article Government kids website pays £6 for every visitor

The Department for Children, Schools and Families spent almost £60,000 developing a temporary website which has had less than 10,000 visitors since it was created and which is due to close next month. The site - called "Build your PlaySpace" - cost £50,000 plus VAT to build - and was meant to encourage children to get involved …


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  1. Paul Charters

    Slightly dangerous to say...

    'Get yourselves over to the Playspace consultation tool site here and pretend to be an 11 year old to get their figures up.'

    Isn't that just asking for trouble in today's paranoid society?

    At least the hardware could be re-used again for something else, so I doubt the final cost will come out as £6 per visitor - still, knowing our government, it probably will...

  2. Anonymous Coward

    No wonder there were hardly any visitors...

    You can't add pubs; swimming pools; rock bands or supermodels.

    What do they think children want to play with - roundabouts and slides?

  3. Anonymous Coward

    Why so much?

    £60K for that piece of tat, I'd have done it for 1/2 the price

  4. Matt

    Filled it, shhh I'm not actually 11 :-)

    It seemed more like another bit of government propaganda, the questions certainly push you to a certain way of thinking.

    In general government consultation seems to work like this:

    We're thinking of doing A:

    Q1; When we do A will you be:

    a. Happy.

    b. Ecstatic

    Q2. How many people you know are desperate for us to do A?

    a. All the people you know.

    b. Even people you don't know.

    Q3. Obviously the alternatives to us not doing A are worrying. Are you:

    a. Frightened.

    b. Terrified.

    Finally, for those who stil can't understand that we're going to do A anyway: Please provide us with an evidence based argument as to why we shouldn't do this (no more than two words).

  5. Bronek Kozicki

    deficit soars to record

    The plan to spend £235m in the next 3 years plays well with the other article I've read today : .

  6. Ru

    "Tough on the causes of play"

    I fear this might be a terribly accurate summary.

    Funnily enough, playing seems to come naturally to children. Maybe they're just doing it in the wrong way? Maybe its that most of the things that were most fun are now considered far too unsafe as the country rushes headlong into paedogeddon.

    Requiring everyone who has seen, heard of, or made a child pass a criminal record check is a step in the right direction. Maybe tagging and tracking children so they don't wander into potentially dangerous environments (these include "outside" and "near adults, especially men") might help matters more?

  7. 4a$$Monkey


    The questions are ridicules... one asks why you don't play outside

    a) its not safe

    b) there is nothing to do

    c) it cost too much

    d) I I prefer to stay at home

    kind of assuming they never go out isn't it!

    I thought we had "packs of feral youths roaming the streets". Have the media been misleading us?

  8. Marc Lawrence
    IT Angle

    Google Robot

    And of those how many were unique IP's logging on - or various robot, malware, net hacks?

  9. M


    I would have done it for a grand cash and a night in with wacky Jacqui.

  10. Mark


    What the hell do they mean? A consultation on play? What is play? Is it some sort of new street drug?

    Surely it would be cheaper and easier to just look at which equipment wears out the fastest?

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What they expect for KIDS don't make me laugh


    has anyone tried it ?

    Asks you 1001 questions while you plod things across screen erm not at all any use to anyone... tax money spent well..

  12. steogede

    Think of it another way

    >> £50,000 plus VAT to build

    On the plus side the government raised almost £9,000 through VAT.

    £50,000 for a questionaire, it really is obscene.

    BTW, I love the way that on the image on the main page the wall at the back is covered in grafiti/art - whereas in the 'game' the same scene has a rainbow painted on the wall.

  13. Sampler


    If this is commissioned by some third party MR company than £60k is a bit of a bargain, especially if you count the tabulation and analysis in with it.

    Still - our MR company could have made it more engaging, whilst maintaining a lower cost :D

    [blatant sales pitch]

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    They actually expect kids under 8 to understand those questions? Or even stay focussed long enough to read the words? Took me a couple of read-throughs before some of them made sense! I don't think this was about consulting children, this was more about making it look like the big bad government was actually kinda soft and cuddly. It doesn't take a genius to see that children are getting bored and need better, safer facilities to congregate/play/get drunk. How many yoof clubs have closed in recent years? I guess 60k wouldn't have gone a long way towards actually building/maintaining these new sites, but it really was a waste of time.

  15. Aaron


    They could have built a Facebook app to do the questionaire, reached 1,000 times more kids and saved £50,000.

  16. Martin Eriksson
    Thumb Down

    Give me back my taxes

    £60k for a simple survey?? They could have slapped it up on Survey Monkey for £100 and then paid a statistician for a couple of days work to put it together.


    Mine's the one with the pocket being picked by HMRC.

  17. Joe

    Lemmings music

    They've nicked that tune, right?

  18. XVar
    Thumb Down

    So you spend £60k on a flash movie

    And don't even make sure the maths functions work properly? I've currently got -160 credits. "Hey, you can build a playground and get into debt too! "

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    kids to run up debts on it .. report it FSA!

    play it.. each playground element costs points.. after just 3 levels it showed "AVAILABLE CREDITS - (minus) 190 POINTS"

    ....what's the interest rate?

    ....Cretin Consultancy at your Service for £60k

    Paris.. because she always comes out to play

  20. Anonymous Coward

    dodgy hits

    Most of those hits are probably from that cr*p "anti-malware" web scan thingy from people who cant spell, searching on; playboy :)

  21. James

    You don't even have to answer the questions... build your dream play area.

    Keep clicking submit and you get more credits. A well built site...

  22. this

    Since when?

    if I knew when the site went live, it might inform my opinion as to whether the viewing figures were any good or not.

  23. this

    Since when: supplemental

    Ok, I trawled the site in question - 3 months old then. You could have said...

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Where's the Tsar?

    Can anyone nip over to Tsars R Us on their way home?

    I think we need a Play Tsar to sort this out.

  25. TG

    £60K & it's not even valid markup...

    Run it through the W3C validator for a laugh.....or not considering we paid for it. Similar scenario to the Olympic logo.

  26. Tony Hoyle
    Black Helicopters

    Oh no!

    Yup it's lemmings. The kid even walks like a lemming.

    Also you don't have to answer any questions just hit submit and keep building treehouses (most expsnsive item) getting more and more into debt.

    What's this trying to teach anyway? 'Answer what the govrenment ask you and you get money'? 'Ripping off Lemmings for fun and profit'?

  27. Justin Case
    Paris Hilton

    Scary, Orwellian

    Leading questions designed to get the answer they want from minds they're hoping to indoctrinate...

    What a load of old bullocks.

    Paris - because she knows bullocks when she sees them

  28. N

    got it sussed...

    Ill do a really shit website for £500K

    Like most govt IT projects the crappier it is the more you can charge,

    or was it in Labours manifesto that you pay more & get less...

  29. Christoph
    Black Helicopters

    That site is vitally important

    "The government will spend £235m in the next three years on helping children play."

    If they didn't do that, some children might be involve in unapproved forms of play!

    Or even *unlicensed* play!!!!!

  30. David Pollard

    Here's the version for the adults' playground

    "The UK Government's Foresight programme, alongside the Horizon Scanning Centre, uses science based methods to provide visions of the future."

    A fine example on this site is the use of Future Arcs, a technique that has been used "to help London Underground assess strategic risk; to help a key Government Department test their strategic crisis response and disaster recovery planning; and to help Transport for London develop a new strategic vision for an internal team."

    (towards the end of this page, at 'The Fan Club':

    "Thinking in arcs supports the development of non-linear and adaptive strategies that are robust across the broadest range of plausible futures; visualising the organisation on multiple arcs at the same time helps create the elusive ‘strategic agility’ that is often talked about but difficult for organisations to realise. Future Arcs includes tools for anticipating and creating future options, identifying decision windows and managing human cognitive and psychological tendencies such as confirmation bias."

  31. skeptical i

    teaching kids how to play ...

    ... there is a pocket park about a mile from here that has a way- cool climbing structure (it has a panel that resembles a rock- climbing surface, rope swing, and stuff *I* never had back when *I* was a boy ...) and, according to various gossip- mongers, the parks department has a manual that teaches kids how to play on it. I can see having someone point out the cool/ safe features that might not be obvious at first glance, but "how to play"? Have the kidlets had ALL their imaginations sucked away? (Not sure I want the answer to that just yet.)

  32. Andrew Halliwell

    re: That site is vitally important

    Or even... shock horror...

    COPY other children's play!

  33. This post has been deleted by its author

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Think of the code reuse


    Yeah, come on 50K is nothing when you figure in all the bureaucracy that would have been involved, all the toing and froing, that was probably two people lives for 6 months, I think they got it for a song. So, it didn't work out, if it was multi millions perhaps there would be some cause for concern, but that figure is paltry.

    It is not cheap to do stuff on the web, just less expensive than physical reality. How much would it have cost to send out questionnaires and get people to collate the results? Probably substantially more than 50K.

  35. Ian
    Thumb Down

    an error occurred

    Great consultation exercise. Well worth the money. I clicked on the link: "If you are an adult you can respond to the consultation here" and all I got was :

    "An Error Occurred. A system error has occurred, we apologise for any inconvenience this may have caused"

  36. Andrew

    Facebook link!

    Im more concerned the site links to Facebook/digg it etc when they are sites clearly not aimed at under 13s (despite the fact they use them in reality).

  37. Andrew Field

    Even worse!

    Plus try to view the explanation for adults and you get:


    An Error Occurred #title#

    A system error has occurred, we apologise for any inconvenience this may have caused."

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Analyst alert

    In addition to all the other problems with this "survey" which have already been brought up, I'd like to mention that surveys conducted across the internet are already worthless from a statistician's point of view, for these reasons:

    1) Web based surveys are not given to a random sample. What about people who don't know about the website, or don't have a computer, or don't care to spend the time?

    2) The sample you do get are clearly skewed towards behaviour (such as filing out a lengthy survey on your own time) that the 'average person' would not do. Also skewed is the economic class distinction, which is heavily weighted towards those who can afford a computer and internet access. I'm rather certain that poor children play as well.

    3) There's no way to tell (aside from watching IP addresses carefully, to an extent) if any of the sample group is gaming the system for their own ends. While unlikely in this farce, the doubt it creates is more than enough to disqualify any results gathered.

  39. Liam


    the problem is now that kids seem to lack imagination.

    when i was a nipper a cardboard box and soem selotape would keep me happy building bases for my lego and star wars... kids these days just sit and stare at things.

    the mrs was doing some stuff with kids recently and they couldnt figure out how to make anything new out of lego - they could only build from the manual. complete lack of imagination.

    wtf is happening to society? is it just that thick people outbreed the rest of us?

    anyone seen the film idiocracy? seems we are going that way!

  40. Mark SPLINTER

    50k zomg

    i'll do it for 5k, give us a call next time. oh, what's that? the budget is 50k? ok i'll take 50 and throw 45 on the fire for you.

  41. Anthony

    They're not interested in what the adults have to say...

    There's a link on the home page which says:

    "If you are an adult you can respond to the consultation here" (

    but clicking it takes you to an error page saying:

    "A system error has occurred, we apologise for any inconvenience this may have caused."

    I guess they don't care what parents might think!

  42. Peter

    Tip of the iceberg?

    As a matter of interest, is their a public/FoI-type thingie to find out what has 'been blown on creating'/'gets blown on running' such Govt./quango sites and how this all equates to actual usage?

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Did you see the kid jumping?

    Is that the way to jump off a swing? By salto? What about jumping off the top of the tree house?

    Good education site... I can here the kid in me saying: I'd like to jump off a tree house with a salto... and not break my bones.

    Paris because she knows what playing in a tree house really means

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why the NHSFIT is failing...

    "The person would need inept knowledge and experience of SQL Server 2000 and experience working in the NHS."

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