“We are completely committed to getting the government web back under control. The days of vanity sites are over. It is not good enough to have websites which do not deliver the high quality services which people expect and deserve. We will take tough action to get rid of those which are not up to the job.”
Francis Maude, Minister for the Cabinet Office. 24 June 2010
In 1993, there was little choice but to rely on people to get out there and help businesses face to face. However, field-based advisers do not come cheap. Mark Prisk MP, Minister of State for Business and Enterprise, confirmed the cost of training and employing Business Link advisers in a single year was £55.95 million (2009-2010).
This chapter tracks the rise of online business support and the Government drive to develop a “self serving” solution and cut costs.
The controversy behind the Government funded £125 million BusinessLink.gov website is revisited. The short lived National Contact Centre of 2001 is reviewed and the Sir David Varney cull of Government websites is explained.
Chapter 9 challenges whether the advance of technology really delivered better support for small and medium sized businesses.