Jul 2011 29

After uncovering which websites Department for Work and Pensions staff had been visiting, yesterday we received a Freedom of Information response from the Department for Transport, which covered their six month internet history from January to the end of May this year. There’s some pretty interesting hits in there, such as role playing games and a Doctor Who toys website.

There are of course many civil servants that are hard-working and dedicated, and web browsing on lunch breaks or before a shift isn’t a problem, but online activity shows there are some not fully dedicated while at work. Pay is the biggest expenditure most public bodies have so it’s vital that taxpayers get value for money from staff that work at their expense.

The Department for Transport have now published the list themselves, and we encourage all departments – and other public bodies too – to do this proactively.

Matthew Sinclair, Director of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said:

“It looks like many officials at the Department for Transport are spending a lot of time surfing websites that clearly have nothing to do with their jobs. While many staff work very hard, there have been enough anecdotal reports of time wasters within the Civil Service that it is vital taxpayers are able to scrutinise how time they are paying for is spent. Other Departments need to follow suit and publish this information, there is no practical obstacle to proper transparency.”

Download the data here (PDF)

See the Department for Work and Pensions response in full here

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  • James Page

    The data that the Department for Transport have sent is for hits not pages visited. Within these numbers is not just the pages visited, but also counted is every image on the page, as well as other files. A hit is each time the browser makes a request to a server.  So if a page has 100 images and another page has 1, the page with 100 will have 100 times more hits than the one with 1. So it does not show anything meaningful. DOT could have easily filtered out images and css files from the the report that they sent you. So it is very hard to draw any conclusion from this information. 

  • Steve Morton

    And can we see the stats for your office please.

    • Chrisdawson18

      Probably cost the taxpayer more having to provide this utterly useless information to the taxpayers alliance. I wonder how much taxpayers money has been spent furnishing idiotic freedom of information requests like ‘what websites have you gone on’ . I hope the departments charge the taxpayers alliance for the time they are wasting. Especially if you then want to be more idiotic and ask them to break it down by lunchtimes etc etc. Is there nothing else in the world you could occupy yourselves with?

  • CCRider

    Are you aware that one of the sites – urban75.net – has a hugely popular transport forum, yes?

  • Brian Cohen

    oh dear..facebook and twitter on the list – not good.

    What organisation allows staff to use these notorious timewasting sites?

    • Chris dawson

      There are loads of benefits to public bodies using these sites

  • humble servant

    Dept for Transport uses both Twitter and Facebook for putting out information to the public.  So press office and techie staff can access Facebook, Twitter and other sites used for this purpose like YouTube.  But they are blocked for the majority of staff.

  • John

    Internet access is available from a workplace, sensible policies are there to access work related sites – while you are working.  As internet facilities are available these policies permit internet usage during non working tiime (during lunchtimes / breaks / etc). Whilst working patterns for staff are variable, it would be useful to have figures and outside core lunchtime to get more accurate information to publicise.

  • Andy Richards

    An organisation is tracking people’s internet usage and then publicising it.  Are we in the DDR?

  • alexsandr

    no porn sites!

  • alexsandr

    no porn sites!

  • Chrisdawson18

    If you are outcome driven, you would not be interested in what sites people visit. You would be interested in the results of their work and would not give two hoots about what sites they visit or when.