The BBC is reporting on the fact that as the British Government attempts to cut back on spending, hundreds of thousands of pounds are being spent developing iPhone Apps. While certainly one can see legitimate uses for some Apps a government could develop, others seem a bit…well…shtupid.
For example, the National Health Service has spent 10,000 pounds to develop an App to help you keep count of how many drinks you have had. The NHS spent another 10,000 pounds on an App to help you quit smoking. The JobsCenter spent more than 30,000 pounds of taxpayer money on an App to help unemployed people find work…though critics are asking how many unemployed people have iPhones and expensive data plans. Apparently a lot, as the App has been downloaded more than 50,000 times…however that may come to an end soon as the App is not compatible with iOS 4 and they would have to pay web developers to port it to the new OS…which considering the reactions from lawmakers isn’t likely to happen.
The BBC was not allowed to get any details on many of the Apps due to “national security” issues (well THAT is encouraging…likely they are Apps involving bootleg Manga in Vietnamese). However, the most expensive single App the BBC was allowed to find out about cost 40,000 pounds and was developed for drivers. According to the BBC:
The most expensive application was a proposed Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) app that provides “a masterclass for changing your wheel”.
Documents seen by the BBC reveal that the DVLA Motoring Masterclass app would cost £40,000 and would also work out fuel mileage, act as a hazard light and track RAC patrols.
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.
It is not known how much of the total £40,000 budget has been spent or how far the app is from completion. At present, the spokesman said, further development is “on hold”.
The British government is also working to cut back on web spending overall, as last year the Crown spent more than 120 million pounds to develop and maintain more than 800 separate websites.