£25,000 for councillors’ gadgets? iCan’t believe it

I pad Council story. Picture Richard Ponter. 120317b
I pad Council story. Picture Richard Ponter. 120317b

Scarborough Borough Council’s cabinet has discussed whether to purchase state-of-the-art Apple iPads, which cost at least £499 each, for each of the borough’s 50 councillors.

A report prepared by Ian Anderson, the council’s head of legal and support services, stated that by purchasing the tablet devices, the council could save around £10,000 per year.

He said: “The council is always looking at providing efficient methods of communications with its elected members and the introduction of tablet devices is the next phase of development in doing this.

“The provision of this equipment will radically cut down on the production of paper agendas, which includes printing and postage costs and will provide a more efficient way for councillors to work.”

Currently agendas for council meetings are produced in paper format and posted to councillors, which involves large printing and postage costs, and so the introduction of these devices will give all councillors electronic access to these documents.

This will amount to a total cost of around £25,000, although each iPad purchased from Apple does come with free delivery and a one-year warranty.

In recent years, laptop computers have been made available to all borough councillors to provide access to electronic forms of communication, but the council claims that by moving to tablet devices they will be able to bridge the gap between paper and computers.

Tablet computers have many advantages over laptops as they are lightweight, more user friendly, they give the ability to make notes – for example during council meetings – and the information is stored in a secure format.

The devices would also have 3G coverage, which gives them the ability to be used on the move or in areas which do not have Wi-Fi access.