Snow defence for council’s £500,000 website cost

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Officials from Northamptonshire County Council have said the snow which hit the county last week has helped prove how vital their website is.

Figures obtained by the Chronicle & Echo showed the authority’s website cost more than £500,000 to set up in 2006.

A further £68,000 was spent on the system in 2010 and the council has estimated the cost of staffing its web team is about £100,000 a year.

But officials at County Hall said almost 100,000 people visited the site on Sunday as school closures were announced because of the snow, highlighting what a vital resource the internet had become for the authority.

A council spokesman said: “The website is probably our most important and popular method of communicating with people living and working in the county. We’ve seen the number of people visiting the site rise every year, with 100,000 visits in December 2007 compared to 170,000 in December 2012.

“With this amount of traffic, it’s essential that we’ve invested in a website that doesn’t crash when under pressure.

“That was clearly demonstrated on Monday, when we saw the number of visits increase to 111,789 in just one day, around 12 times the average number daily visits.”

The council has also said the site saved money by allowing people to access information without taking up staff time. It has estimated that every time somebody accesses information online instead of making a phone call, the council saves £2.95.