New Government Website Cost So Far: $741,656

June 2, 2016

The total spend as of 31 May 2016 on the new Government website is $741,656, a Cabinet Office spokesperson said, with the cost including payments made to two vendors for work on the portal, focus groups, the RFP process, the portal design, build, content review and creation.

The new website was unveiled in March of this year, offering an upgraded design, search functionality, a topics based format, a feedback button on each page and much more.

gov site bermuda June 2 2016 TC

At that time, Bernews asked how much the website cost and was told $297,400, and in the House of Assembly on Friday the cost was stated at just over $600,000; we asked for clarification, and the Government explained that the cost provided in March was for the portal build, while the cost stated on Friday was for the project expenditure to date.

A Cabinet Office spokesperson said, “When asked by Bernews, on 31 March 2016, how much was spent to build the new portal, the cost of $297,400 was provided. This figure represented the contracted price with the vendor who won the RFP to build the portal and five years of support.

“The figures provided by the Hon. Premier in the House of Assembly on Friday, were in response to the question on the actual project expenditure to date, rather than just the cost of the portal build.

“The $600,143 stated by the Premier represents payments made to two vendors for work on the portal requirements, focus groups, the RFP process, the portal design, portal build and content review and creation.

“The total spend, as of 31 May 2016, on the portal is now $741,656. This figure includes all capital expenditure incurred during this financial year and the last financial year on the portal; advanced payment for a year’s hosting fees; and April’s monthly maintenance fee.

“The total capital budget for the portal, over seven years is set at $1,950,000. $400,000 has been approved for the financial year 2016/2017.

“This will be spent enhancing the portal platform, reviewing, updating and migrating content from external sites, that are not currently on the new portal, together with creating on-line forms, on-line payments, and other digital services.”

A Cabinet Office spokesperson added, “The portal development process followed Financial Instructions, was delivered on time and is on budget.”

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Comments (69)

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  1. mixitup says:

    Let me guess, like the Airport, this was of national importance! Hungry school kids, broken bridges, unemployment out of the wazoo and we have almost a mill to throw at prettying up a website…

    • BURN says:

      you dont understand

      • The Original Truth™ says:

        What don’t we understand? Was the $741,656 in canadian dollars. Please tell me so because right now all I understand is $741,656 Bermudian is close to 1mil Canadian and no company in Canada would charge that much for a site as poorly built. Did the money really go to a Canadian company? HMMMMMM!

    • 2017 says:

      Thank you OBA for standing strong for Bermuda. 2017 I’m voting for you again.

      • Rhonda says:

        When all else fails, bury your head and carry on…vote oba..

      • The Original Truth™ says:

        Hopefully you are being sarcastic. It’s either that or you’ve grown comfortable with being bent over by PLP for so long you don’t mind OBA doing it to you also.

        It’s like we are in 1970′s Jamaica and our choices are either Michael Manley or Edward Seaga. We need an alternative because neither of the two Bermuda parties know what they are doing.

    • Encyclopedia says:

      Way it works in BDA is:

      A BDA company (or a close friend’s Canada company) will win the tender at $700000 and then they will outsource the project to an Indian company for $150,000 and pocket the difference.

      This is a regular modus-operandi in countries like BDA.

  2. Truth is killin' me... says:

    Whatever happened to where I could see if my employer was paying my social insurance by putting in my social insurance number and birth date!?

  3. LOL says:

    folks, the website search feature for projects awarded does not work and has not worked for some time now. I think using GoDaddy would have been by far, a cheaper approach.

    “The information you are searching for cannot be found. Please try your search again.”

    Website Builder
    No skills? No time? — No problem.

    Easy to use – build your professional site simply.
    Hundreds! of customizable designs
    Free domain, hosting and business email.

    • Think says:

      Any Premium WordPress theme would’ve been sufficient, and a lot less costly.

  4. seriously? says:

    Somebody took these guys for a ride.

    • Real Deal says:

      For really and I have worked in that field for 8 years. the problem is they don’t want to hire local the want to pay for expensive consultants instead. I am unemployed and I could have did a web sight for way less that that. front end back end and security. this is what happen when you buy premade sight. and I am 100% sure they have to pay a monthly Maintenance License cost as well.

  5. wondering says:

    A hefty price for a pretty copy (not a good one) of the UK portal

    • Kristen says:

      It’s not even remotely as good as the UK one

  6. Um.... says:

    Focus groups? Really? Wow….

    • Kristen says:

      Focus groups are very important for projects like this. (When managed well!)

  7. Verly says:

    Why does everything the government does cost so much money? Almost a million dollars for a website? And they think this is value for money? Wow!!

    • WarwickBoy says:

      Everything they do costs so much more than it should because they are spending someone else’s money and not their own! If they were footing the bill directly, you can bet they would be more driven to get value for money. It’s human nature.

  8. NCM says:

    Well that was a terrible waste of money – new portal is absolutely useless… Think Bernews could have built a far superior site for a tenth of the cost!

    • Dan says:

      Fudge it – give me 1/100th of the cost and a fish sandwich and I’ll do a better job!!

  9. Silver bullet says:

    It doesn’t even cost anywhere near that to upgrade a website. Sad….Government does best in spending large sums of money and not investing in the right things……

  10. Yes says:

    That’s what happens when you give contracts to friends with benefits! Should have just used a free online website maker or gotten one of the students to work on a new site for FAR LESS!!!

    • The Original Truth™ says:

      The company that built the site did use a free online website maker and charged us hundreds of thousands for it.

  11. Knowledgable says:

    This is just above the amount gov has paid in licensing fees every year for the last 8yrs or so. Over 65 individual sites assessed and redeveloped. Gov don’t have the man power as they don’t invest in IT like every other gov.They picked open source software that has no yearly license. Websites save gov money less time workers spent answering questions that should b available online.

    • Say Whaat? says:

      But you can’t find anything on the site now! They have made it to where you have to do a PATI request to find out simple information that was on the previous website. It’s ridiculous!

    • The Original Truth™ says:

      If the site was built fully in code there would be no yearly license. Once the site is built it’s a done deal and belongs to whoever paid for it.

      Open source plugins and modules need to be updated constantly. Open source at that price is like being put in a Rikers Island cell with big bubba.

  12. Jackpot says:

    So the next question bernews should ask is who were the vendors?

    • Jokers says:

      It’s in their first story. To make things worse, its a Canadian company

      • InTheKnow says:

        All local firms put in bids >$1mn for the site redevelopment.

        Are you saying that the Office of Procurement (staffed by civil servants) got this wrong and should have went with the more expensive route? If that occurred then the local firm chosen would have been subject to claims of cronyism and waste of money on family and friends (as has happened already).

        • M says:

          It looks like it will cost $1m but the time it is finished.

        • The Original Truth™ says:

          That’s BS because not all local firms were told about this in order to put in a bid. Where was this publicly announced? To have the site built in drupal is a joke. They would have been better off having it built in wix. Just wait until all the free plugins installed need to be updated. Funny how Canada wouldn’t dare have a government site built in an open source application but we have a Canadian company building ours in one.

        • just wondering says:

          actually that’s what ought to have happened as the Government then would have received a lot of this back via payroll tax etc – better to stimulate the economy than to send all that money overseas

      • the struggle is real says:

        Man, Canada has their hands in so much on this island we’re closer to being the 10th province than a British colony. You may as well stick a maple leaf in the right corner of our flag.

  13. Tony Brannon says:

    I cannot believe the price….. Just cannot believe it

  14. What?!? says:

    Wow, who’s the vendor(s) for this job?

  15. Tisk Tisk says:

    Another example of poor Civil Service procurement policies. They pay for an external company to build a new website while still employing a Dept. of E-Commerce, Information Technology Office, Dept. of Communications & Information, & Dept. of E-Government.

    Lawd Jeesus I need that Government job…paid to test air conditioning temperatures all day.

    • Say Whaat? says:

      You are blaming the government workers for this? They didn’t hire the company, your minister did that!

      “The total capital budget for the portal, over seven years is set at $1,950,000. $400,000 has been approved for the financial year 2016/2017.”

      Who approved this?!

      • Tisk Tisk says:

        Yeah well, if Government’s internal tenured staff were capable we wouldn’t have to pay consultants for a new website. Wait until the fees for ongoing maintenance, training, hosting and consulting are released over time…

    • Jolly says:

      Basically an admission that large swathes of the civil service are not up to the job.

  16. Terry says:

    Which Minister in the Cabinet is responsible for this and what department.
    Just asking.

  17. clearasmud says:

    This portal is far less user friendly than the old one. The old one was slow but I usually found what I needed! Almost a mil for this garbage and almost a mil for a roundabout that is still not perfect. Anyone see a trend developing here?

  18. Unbelievable says:

    To be fair, the previous Govt website was a mess. It took forever to load for whatever reason and it was so cluttered you actually gave up looking for stuff. It needed an upgrade, yes. Having a fully functioning Bermuda Govt website actually saves on salaries, contribution fees and all sorts of other expenses that the Govt could do without so we really shouldn’t be whining and moaning that much.

    Having said aaaallll of that…….. $741,656? Are you kidding me?

  19. Charlly X says:

    Lmaowtfol throw some money at it !!

  20. MoneyVanessa says:

    It is Rediculous sum to pay for a site maybe I can do for cheaper

  21. UNREAL says:

    This number is just unacceptable!!! When are we going to take back our island and stop this game of party politics. This money could be have gone to better use, such as the public education system. I mean what message is this government sending? That they have money for a website, however they do not have money for books and laptops and teachers? This is a sad day in Bermuda!

  22. The Original Truth™ says:

    Tax payer’s have been bent over big time on this one. The site isn’t even hand coded. Paying that much for a site built in drupal is like paying for a mercedes and getting a hyundai instead.

  23. Torian says:

    Lmao you can get a better website built on Fiverr

  24. boston baked bean says:

    I’m sure that 3/4 of a million dollars for a new website was of vital importance to the country Good grief.

  25. Wayne N says:

    All this noise about the Civil Servants and the Procurement process….who is RESPONSIBLE for the government purse?…..Yup you got it BOB!!!

    Let’s see if all of you OBA’ers will make the same noise now that he is acting like a “cog in the wheel”!!

  26. the struggle is real says:

    How is that schools are falling apart, teachers having to partially foot the bill for classroom supplies….but we have 3/4 million for this BS? Can someone explain to me what the priorities are here?! Why was the website, at that cost, so important at the expense of more obviously pressing issues?

    • Truthhertz says:

      We are spending more than $6mn on school repairs this year.

      Like it or not this website is part of BDA’s infrastructure as well which needs upgrading.

      • the struggle is real says:

        After so many years of neglect, I suppose a golf clap is in order.

  27. Tony Brannon says:


    Judy – That wonderful new website that I have used their contact form on and no one responds to?
    Tony – Too many civil servants my dear Watson….

    So tell me, I used a contact form to find out how to get a two week extension on a 90 day stay. I need to tell the woman I’m renting the apartment from so she can let it go if they won’t give me the extension. I’m not asking to stay forever, just 2 weeks over the 90 day limit. They could at least answer my inquiry!
    BERMUDA is another world !

    Like that helps! I’ve been coming for 46 years, probably for that reason BUT……

  28. mmm says:

    Government needs to be upfront about the crucial need for repairs to its website, if the public were aware of the situation months and months ago, there might be greater support. Do we not have our own Bermuda College that can work alongside of a technical school and get the job done at a better price as well as an opportunity for students to learn.

  29. Boom Bye Bye says:

    Soooooo……. what was wrong with the last website???

  30. Dumbfounded says:

    So much ignorance in the posts above… GoDaddy, Wix? Really?

    I have worked in this profession for over 10 years on many high profile websites. A website is a business tool, without a good foundation, much like a house, you will be challenged to just maintain it let alone expand it and adapt with the times. A website is not just there to look pretty, if used and leveraged properly it can yield great value, improve efficiencies and greatly improve public perception.

    Open source lowers the cost all around as you don’t pay monopolies licensing fees for their software that only few people are skilled in. Open source is not inferior, in face the White House’s website is built on Drupal.

    The true cost of this projects come from the 1000′s of pages of unorganized, unoptimized content, the build of the database and setup of the servers that can handle the true load of users, actual thought being paid to the end user journey, the user interface, the research behind design and development decisions, the design of the pages, SEO, security, payment gateways, how it will be easily updated in the future by content owners and the list goes on and on. Building of a website does not magically happen overnight, nor does it happen on flimsy free software that ‘anyone can build’ such as GoDaddy or Wix, two of the WORST platforms I have ever seen in my life.

    It is a government website after all, it cannot be built with wood and twigs and when a hurricane blows it falls down?! Or in the case of the online world is hacked, crashes, is down and unavailable longer than it is ever up and it is not usable going forwards. Come on people think and use your intelligence, and stop being so quick to point fingers and criticize just because you see a large lump sum of money paid without understanding the challenges and complexities first.

    • Michael says:

      Cool. So next time they should say we will pay you 500,000 if and only if you present the finished project meeting specific standards by this this date. If not, then no money. That way there is a cap and no reason to overpay. If the company doesn’t provide, then on to the next contender. Horrible negotiating skills on the government’s part …. they need to have limits.

      • sage says:

        A house can be built for less, involves far more materials, can’t be done sitting down and actual work (force x distance) is needed. The huge wage disparity between “white” and “blue collar is embarrassingly evident in cases like these. I see another global economic crash coming, we are back to the pre-2008 conditions.

        • Dumbfounded says:

          How big is the house you are building, Sage? Yes some houses can be built for less, but this is a government house we are talking about… the needs are greater than your average house – it is higher profile so needs security, proper lighting and signage leading the way, it needs to be accessible to all people, and it needs to be furnished. Add these ‘frills’ or in the government’s case necessities, and you will be paying way over the amount spent.

      • Dumbfounded says:

        Hi Michael, yes I agree with you there. A better understanding of these types of projects is required from within, in fact it is of utter importance moving forward. The problem not many people understand is that a website is just as much work on the client’s side… if they are not ready or are unskilled or there are bottlenecks from within an organisation, even the simplest of tasks becomes a nightmare to accomplish. I am not saying this is the case here as I have no idea of the inner workings of government, but one can guess. And yes, fixed cost is a better parameter to work within especially due to the fact that the vendors can run all the way to the bank just based on incompetency and wasted time.

  31. Abc says:

    USA dollar soon finished noobs

  32. O.M.G says:

    Ya it’s amazing how they are finding fault with all the progress. To bad they weren’t finding fault with all the over runs that the last party did. We would have had $11 million to put on the bridges if we had not wasted it on foot ball and cricket. Another way to try and get votes. Lol right. Where did all your voices come from. Must have just been deaf before or like some people say head in the sand.
    Give me a break please

    • Make a new plan Stan says:

      People used social media way less back then but there were people who spoke up. If you look at old Bernews articles they didn’t have a fraction of the response activity they have now. Also, smart phones are way more ubiquitous so it’s easier to comment on issues. People were definitely talking but just not in this manner.

      Your question, “where did all your voices come from?” is easy to answer…….fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice shame on ME. Rather than talk about it around the kitchen table like we did the last time around we now bring it to public forums with all of our access to the new devices etc. and hope we can avoid mistakes that were made in the past.

  33. Zevon says:

    Maybe they should have added another $2.3m. Then it would have been enough to bring a pop singer here to sing for 90 minutes. Could have thrown a big expensive party, and then everyone would have gone home saying they “know how to get things done”.
    To hell with making things better.

    • The Original Truth™ says:

      After that they could add an extra 10.4 mil general expenses, 12.2mil on event operating expenses, 14.3 mil on infrastructure expenses, 15 mil to the event promoter for sponsorship and a 25 mil guarantee to the sponsor to host an American boat race that over half the population of America has never heard of let alone the rest of the world. To top it all off most of the events leading up to the main will be hosted in other places in the world watering down the market saturation of the main on island.

  34. Gabriel says:

    This was a nice to have – not essential item. Please lets spend what money we have with what we need!