back to article RatemyCouncil site launches, falls over

A £22m website offering comparisons between local councils launched today, and at the time of writing is barely useable because pages are loading so slowly. The Oneplace site is meant to bring together information from several inspectorates including the Audit Commission. We suggest they start by auditing their own web hosting …


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  1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    Heard about it on the radio this morning

    Gave it till lunchtime before it crashed... don't they *ever* learn?

  2. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge


    "The Oneplace website is busy. Unfortunately the Oneplace website is experiencing high volumes of traffic, please try again later. We apologise for the inconvenience".

    I'd laugh if it wasn't for the £22m spent.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Business as Usual Then?

    The problem with these sites is always the same. They spec them for their expected traffic. Which, lets face it, will normally be low to zero. Then they trumpet the launch all over the media and what happens? Virtually nobody can resist clicking a link in a news story so the site gets probably hundreds of times it's expected traffic for a couple of days and then drops back to normal.

    Why do they do the big announcement every time they launch one of these sites? In the case of a site like this it would probably make more sense to roll it out a county at a time, or some other easilly managed geographical area that would cover a handful of councils.

    Now lets not have any of that crap about them speccing the hardware and bandwidth to suit the day 1 traffic. If they did that you'd all be complaining about them wasting tax revenue on hardware that was only going to be used for one day.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oneplace is a crock

    but not so much of a crock as CPA.

    CPA rated councils on all sorts of KPIs set by the government and civil service, nothing to do with the real world performance of a council: that is to say delivering good services to local residents and businesses and keeping them happy.

    Oneplace includes some similar things to CPA (although simplified) but does add a customer satisfaction element. From what I've seen so far it's interesting that councils that did well on CPA are still largely doing well on Oneplace, but some of them aren't doing so well on customer satisfaction. This suggests to me that some councils that concentrated on producing good CPA results took their eye off the ball when it came to what should be their core business. Councils need to remember that their core business is not keeping central government happy.

    The flaw in Oneplace is that largely that some of the measures used are costly and complicated to produce, but aren't particularly important. For example, psending a fortune auditing the "use of resources" is pretty pointless. A cheaper and simpler real world measure would be to check customer satisfaction against council tax. Low council tax and a high customer satisfaction rating? You must be doing a good job of managing resources. High tax, low satisfaction? Couldn't manage the resources for a piss up in a brewery. Low tax, low satisfaction? Probably managing resources OK, but need more resources? High tax, high satisfaction? Could probably get by with fewer resources if they were better managed.

    As usual with anything the civil service have been involved in, oneplace is overcomplicated.

  5. Scott 19


    I am really startign to think that these guberment thought out ideas really are just to make there mates richer and at the same time have no relivance to what i call the real world.

    As i said yesterday i really need to find out about these gravy trains before hand, 22M thats one big train loada gravy right there.

  6. Jimmy Floyd


    Apart from the usual New Labour trick of throwing money in the air to keep an economy going (while calling it "Gordon's Economic Miracle"), what's the point of this? Am I expected to move to an area who happens to possess fewer whingers than my own, all in the name of false market forces.

  7. deadlockvictim

    What could've gone wrong?

    I just don't understand it.

    It was specified by the finest consultancy firms money can buy. It runs on ASP.NET: possibly the finest, most responsive webserver ever developed. We spent an absolute fortune on it. It was even rated as a befitting a glory from the dotcom-era.

    What went wrong?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    22 million?

    On a website?

    Minister does one not feel a tad fleeced?

    Oh it is public money so it does not matter?

    Ah, I see. The civil servants needed the additional income.

    That explains it nicely(?)

  9. Tom yng Nghymru

    What is the point?

    Really what is the point - you can't change your local council. I don't have to option to choose which council I pay my council tax to, or who colllects my bins.

    Neath Port Talbot might be a brilliant council compared to Swansea - but as my house is firmly in the latter, and will never change, how exactly does this benefit me?

  10. Anonymous Coward

    Birmingham council's website

    Sounds like Birmingham council's website which was discussed on You and Yours (I think) on R4 recently. There they spent millions (£5m?) on a website which was unfriendly, wasn't complete, didn't provide much information - basically useless. The company that made it? Crapita of course! On the R4 show, some website designers talked about how they knocked up a pretty useful site in a few days for pennies. Admittedly they probably didn't have to cope with the bureaucracy and red-tape of a council department, nor handle issues such as 24/7 support but it still shows how much these companies such as Crapita charge for basically bog all.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    OT (but important) @ 11:29 GMT

    How does one define market forces? Is not the need of many with employment potential curtailed, terminated, interrupted, ... by finance sector corruption (I use the term loosely) also an important consideration?

    If "market forces" is to infer or imply some struggle for existence in which the winner is to be the role setter well, does that role not fall directly to finance sector tw*ts?

    After all, they were on duty, had responsibilities, from board to senior managers, ... and so forth and seem to have done rather well out of their novel take on effective management and upholding standards (that goes for their employing organisations too).

    So, in effect, it may boil down to: who do you think public funds should be spent on?

    For the benefit of the public or for the benefit of the few?

    Usually the answer typifies one as either Labour (supports public funds spent on the benefit of the public) or Tory (supports public funds spent on the benefit of the few).

    The facts really do exist (grammar schools funded by public purse, limited university entrance funded by public purse, ... ) and are historically accurate.

  12. OFI


    Think I need a change of career..

    I just can't understand how they can begin to justify that cost.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    twenty two million?

    There is no way in the world that a website can cost that much money and be so crap.

    Whoever the procurement manager and whoever was the project manager, and finance manager on this project should be fired and then shot.

    This is a huge waste of money, another 22 million that you all will be paying back in your taxes with the other 100,000,000 billion.

    I have not looked at the site (due it being down) but here is my summary of its content;-

    Local council in the UK costs too much in council tax and does not deliver much in the way of services (comensurate with the rate of council tax).

    So, the only outcome from such as site is to be another reason why UK is not the place for skilled intelligent people (who are now on 50% tax).

    Booking my ticket out of here and taking my tax with me Gordon!!!

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    on radio 4 just now...

    ... coovered this topic, with Tory Councillor from H'smith council going head-to-head with Audit Commission mouthpiece.

    AC guy said website cost 200k, not 22m; and that the AC had chraged councils less this year than last for their "services". The site is intended to make already public info more accessible, instead of hiding it behind "beware of the leopard" signs, I suppose.

    TC seemed to object primarily because it _wasn't_ an opinion poll (!), but was (at least in principle) an independent assessment of council performance.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Imagine a council that rates high for management performance and use of resources and low for public satisfaction. Does that tell us anything about the council? Nope, it tells us that the criteria used for the first two measures are completely wrong.

    Oh and the site didn't cost £22M. As I understand it that amount is the cost of gathering and collating all the data and then putting it on the website.

    When the site is finally up and working I'm going to check how many councils score as above. If there are many it's proof that the whole system of measurement sucks. So that's 22 million wasted and back to go.

  16. Dave 64 Silver badge

    Bad capitalisation in title

    When I first read that headline I thought, "well I don;' live in Ratemy, so I don't see why that would be relevant to me"

  17. Chris Miller

    Satisfied customer

    I used the web site and I've decided to change my local council from Wycombe to Arbroath.

    Oh, wait ...

  18. Anonymous Coward

    I am reminded of the old adage often used by anouncers on the BBC

    "Except for viewers in Scotland"

  19. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart

    The website is fine...

    its the ZX septrum that they are using to host the site that is having problems.

    its the ZX spectrum that they are using to host the site that is having problems.

    Also spare a thought for the Irish Taxpayers, John (Gormless) Gormley wants to spend €125,000 counting frogs!!!!!!

    Don't you just love the way government prioritises things...

  20. John I'm only dancing

    £22 Million for that?

    If they wanted to waste that sort of money, they could have bunged half of it my way. What sort of site purporting to rate all councils doesn't, in fact, actually have information for all councils. My own is not one of those listed.

    I enter my postcode and all I get is a page realting the county, with little in the way of information of any value. When you click the link for your council, it takes you to the usual, bland, pointless waste of cash (sorry space) that is a district council's website.

  21. Phil Endecott

    Put it in the cloud

    While "cloud" might be a four-letter-word at El Reg, it would certainly have benefits in applications like this: at times of high demand, just add a few more server instances.

  22. James O'Shea

    massive idiocy

    What are they using to transfer data on that site, carrier pigeons?

    And how do I go about getting a contract for setting up a site to replace it? I'm cheap, I'll only charge half what the last lot did.

  23. David Pickering

    what a waste of money

    what was wrong with upmystreet? christ

  24. James R Grinter

    Supply Competition!

    Seems to me that this must be a precursor to letting us all choose which councils we take our services from. (You know, like how electricity and gas supply choice has worked so well.)

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    M$ ShitePoint in falls-over-as-soon-as-it's-looked-at shocker? Noooo, surely not?!

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