That’s just about the message from the UK Treasury on their web site of the same name I’ve blogged about before.  You’ll remember

  • it (the site) was up with, as some would say, full functionality
  • it was subverted by mean-spirited citizens, some plain nasty, some with creative suggestions from the Comedians’ Book of How to Save Money
  • it appeared with most suggestions marked “unavailable”
  • it went down
  • it reappeared in modified form, now the child of the Cabinet Office rather than the Treasury, with not much than the option of sending in a suggestion – no viewing or commenting on other people’s bright ideas.

A mixed track record at best.

Now the site says

Over the last month, you’ve submitted more than 44,000 suggestions [although another page claims 31,000 – must keep it up to date guys!] to help us get more for less. To ensure these ideas are considered in time for the Spending Review and that you, the public, get a chance to consider and rate them, the Spending Challenge website has now closed.

We plan to re-open the website shortly. We’ll post suggestions we’ve received and give you the chance to vote on them.

So that’s success, in their eyes at least.

I hope they’ve got some whizzy software to make sense of all the suggestions in a few days (“At the end of August, we’ll take the best ideas and investigate them in further detail…”) and run some meaningful online poll so a grateful populace can vote on them. 

Given what it’s all about I assume that making sense of the magnificent 44,000 isn’t occupying an army of civil servants or outsourced at major expense to the private sector.

Today comes news that entrepreneur/retailer Sir Philip Green has been asked by the British Prime Minister to lead a review of government spending that, like the Spending Challenge, will feed into the government’s Comprehensive Spending Review due in October.

I do hope the two exercises are linked, although presumably Sir Philip will not be burning the midnight oil over the 44,000 suggestions

The words “up” and “joined” come to mind as do “pants” and “flying by the seat of”.

I think I might be returning to this one again.

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