The Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) expects to make savings of £2 million by sharing its web platform, on top of predicted savings of £2.5 million from renegotiating contracts.

The BIS website, which merged the former Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) and Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS) sites, launched in March 2010 at a cost of £397,000. BIS has previously said that the new, unified web platform was cheaper than when it was under a previous contract, after agreements were renegotiated and consolidated.

In a written parliamentary answer, Edward Davey, Minister for Employment Relations, Consumer and Postal Affairs, said: “It should be noted that the new BIS web platform will cost £2.5 million less over four years compared to the cost of the previous contract. And by offering the platform as a shared service for our partner organisations, the BIS family stands to save up to £2 million more.”

He made the comment after revealing that the planned budget for website in 2011-12 will be around £450,000.

The budget, which has yet to be finalised, comprises £180,000 for the annual web hosting and service charge, between £80,000 and £100,000 for website maintenance and development and around £20,000 for standards compliance and performance management activities.

The budgeted figure, which does not include staff costs, also includes the cost of migrating nine BIS partner organisation websites onto the BIS web platform. This is estimated to cost £150,000 in 2011-12, with the cost to be met by the partner organisations. BIS’s partner bodies include regulatory body OFCOM and the Technology Strategy Board.

A spokesperson for BIS declined to provide the details about the BIS web platform provider, citing commercial reasons.

However, information released on 13 October 2009 following a Freedom of Information Act request showed that the external suppliers involved with the former DIUS and BERR websites included Fujitsu, Detica, EC Group, digital agency Nomensa, web design company Redweb, and web management and maintenance company Siteimprove.

The website recorded an average 36,047 unique visitors a month over the last year, according to the Central Office of Information’s (COI) ‘Reporting on progress: Central Government websites 2009-10’ report.