PolicyOn Wednesday, the House of Representatives instructed the Audit Bureau to conduct a comprehensive review of Parliament’s operations. The first headache that presents itself is the failed renovation project for the Chamber’s website. Previously estimated at €159,000, the bill has now risen to as much as €700,000 after nearly six years – but without any result.
Anyone www.dekamer.be Ever noticed: the web page looks dusty and old. While surfers from home and abroad visit it daily. Early on July 19, 2017, the Chamber determined that its website was in dire need of a facelift. Deadline: January 1, 2024. Because on the first day of Belgium’s presidency of the European Union, the Federal Parliament wants to be completely new in order to receive many international guests.
However, this meant the beginning of real torment. The first step was to find a suitable company, among other things to facilitate access to the website for mobile phones. The House of Representatives focused on “vzw Smals”, a government-owned organization focused on information management and ICT services. In a preliminary estimate, vzw Smals put the costs at €159,000. But it did not stop there: in addition to the development costs, in the following years sums were also charged for the operation, maintenance and connection between the various web pages.
The parking tunnel in the Walloon Parliament is also 4 times the cost
However, on January 25, 2023, vzw Smals informed the Chamber “that they could not carry out the project under the specified conditions” and suggested “contacting other partners who can be called”. A recent note to the Chamber’s board of directors dated February 1, 2023, available to our editors, lists amounts invested between 2018 and 2022. The total bill has now risen to €699,258: an overbudget of at least +440 percent. The story is reminiscent of the parking tunnel built by the Walloon Parliament, which later turned out to be four times more expensive than initially expected. But this time without actually realizing the site renovation project.
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