Coun­cil spends £12k on tablets

Move to off­set ris­ing print­ing costs

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - OPINION - By Jo-Anne Rowney jo-anne.rowney@trin­i­tymir­

BUCKS County Coun­cil spent more than £12,000 buy­ing tablet com­put­ers for coun­cil­lors last year.

The coun­cil has bought 41 iPads at a cost of £12,638, which in­cludes ac­ces­sories and apps. It also in­cludes £513.94 to re­place two bro­ken screens.

The coun­cil bought 38 tablets in May and June 2013, cit­ing bring­ing down print­ing costs as one of the rea­sons for pur­chas­ing them.

In 2012/13 it spent £6,000 on print­ing for coun­cil­lors and £1,500 on postage.

In 2013/14, it spent £7,200 on print­ing and £1,600 on postage.

The fig­ures are from Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion Act re­quests ask­ing for the cost of tablet com­put­ers, as well as the ex­pen­di­ture on ac­ces­sories and re­pairs.

The coun­cil was asked how much money it spent on print­ing and dis­tribut­ing coun­cil doc­u­ments to coun­cil­lors be­fore and after pur­chas­ing tablets.

Bucks County Coun­cil’s cab­i­net mem­ber for fi­nance Peter Hardy said: “It’s a key part of our dig­i­tal strat­egy to re­duce costs and give our res­i­dents im­proved ser­vices – and that in­cludes be­ing bet­ter con­nected with them.

“We’re do­ing just that by de­vel­op­ing new ways for res­i­dents to do business with us, so that our on­line ser­vice and mo­bile apps are so good ev­ery­one uses them as their first choice for get­ting in touch.

“In the same way, it’s im­por­tant that county coun­cil­lors have ef­fec­tive and ef­fi­cient ways to stay con­nected, which al­lows them to be more eas­ily and quickly avail­able to their res­i­dents, and to progress is­sues on their be­half with the county coun­cil.”

But spokesman for the Tax­pay­ers Al­liance, Andy Sil­vester, said: “If the coun­cil spends money on tablets – and why it has to be an iPad, the most ex­pen­sive model, is beyond us – then surely the cost of print­ing should be go­ing down?

“Au­thor­i­ties of­ten jus­tify spend­ing on tech­nol­ogy by say­ing it will save money in the long term, but that’s been shown by th­ese fig­ures to be a lie.

“The cost of gov­ern­ment in Buck­ing­hamshire has to come down, so that coun­cil tax is spent on es­sen­tial ser­vices not ad­min­is­tra­tion.”

What do you think? Email our let­ters page at buck­snews@trin­i­tysouth.

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