UK.gov spends thousands on iPhone app development - gHacks Tech News

UK.gov spends thousands on iPhone app development

The BBC has reported that the British government has spent thousands of pounds developing iPhone apps for everything from Foreign Office travel advice to a jobseeker's tool.

The apps, ranging from between £10,000 and £40,000 each.  One of the most expensive is a DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency) app that provided a "masterclass for changing your wheel".

A spokesman for the DVLA told BBC News:"We want to make it as easy as possible for motorists to renew their car tax, tell us about a change of address or update their driving licence, meaning they stay safe and legal to drive.

"This would also bring benefits for DVLA, for example by reducing the number of reminders that need to be sent out.

"We considered how an application could help with this but no final decisions have been taken and the app, for now, is still in development," he added.

This information has emerged only a few weeks after the government announced a wholesale review of all its websites after the Central Office of Information revealed that UK.gov had spent £94m on website development and running costs and a further £32m on web development staffing during the year 2009-2010.

The new government coalition in the UK is currently implementing swingeing cuts across all government and public services, in order to reduce the country's huge budget deficit.

The job hunting app has been downloaded more than 53,000 times, but critics have asked "why someone who can afford both an iPhone and the expensive running costs would need a Jobcentre Plus app."

"It seems many Government bodies have given in to the temptation to spend money on fashionable gimmicks at a time when they are meant to be cutting back on self-indulgent wastes of money", he told BBC News.

In a statement, the Cabinet Office said "The government recently announced a freeze on all marketing and advertising spend for this year and this includes iPhone applications.  Future spend on iPhone development will be subject to strict controls: only essential activity, approved by the Efficiency and Reform Group, which is chaired by the Minister for the Cabinet Office and the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, will be allowed".

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