An 18-month hold up with the Isle of Wight Council's new £765,000 'enormous beast' of a website must not be allowed to 'spiral out of control', warned the scrutiny committee, which met on Wednesday.

So far, £200,000 has been spent on the first phase of the project and as it moves onto the second, concerns have been raised following an internal review, which found multiple risks, including 'significant weaknesses' in its management.

The current website, the council's corporate services director Claire Shand said, has over 2,000 web pages, 1,300 service documents, 180 forms connecting to automated systems, 56 in-house built systems like the tip booking system, as well as externally commissioned systems which all need to be brought across to the new site.

It was an incredibly complex piece of work, she said, but admitted it was an error to continue the project over the pandemic, when multiple staff had been moved to help Covid response efforts.

Cllr Ian Stephens, cabinet member in charge, said the Alliance administration had 'got on with the job' with support from officers, and had managed to get 'the project back on track'.

Calls came from the committee and fellow cabinet member, Cllr Chris Jarman, however, to pause and 'get to grips' with the project before continuing, or consider if there is another way forward.

Cllr Jarman said the project had many points of complexity and said independent evaluation would help find the right direction, before more taxpayers' money is spent.

The committee unanimously voted in favour of creating a group to review the project and it will also keep a closer on it in future.

Cllr Michael Lilley raised numerous issues, but also questioned why the council wanted to 'reinvent the wheel' when it could get a website from another authority.

Ms Shand said while it seemed like a brilliant idea, it is 'not necessarily the case' as each authority has its own policies and conventions but the team is working closely to share and learn from other authorities.