Counting people, counting floods, counting tax, counting crime

There’s something about January:

January 2002:

1901 census: But within hours of its launch the site encountered problems denying people access to historical information. At the time, this was described as “teething troubles”.

January 2003:

Flood warnings: online government suffered another embarrassment when the Environment Agency’s new flood warning website was itself flooded with demand.

January 2005:

Self assessment: On Monday the deadline for filing self-assessment tax returns, the Inland Revenue’s web service was handling a record 4,800 returns an hour. Despite a 50% increase in capacity, it couldn’t cope. While the service didn’t crash, thousands of taxpayers could not log on. Others succeeded in filing but did not receive confirmation emails. The Inland Revenue said any failed submissions re-sent within 14 days would not be liable for the normal £100 fine for late filing

January 2011 (well, ok, February 2011):

Crime data: There was something very similar about the launch: the site unceremoniously crashed under the load from people keen to sift through the data online. A visit to that site now tells us that this service “has now been integrated into the website, and includes street-level crime data and many other enhancements.”

We so need to learn this lesson, once and for all.

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