£175k bill to give Norfolk county councillors iPad-style tablets
07:00 10 December 2012
Just over £175,000 is to be spent kitting out county councillors with iPad-style ‘tablets’, as Norfolk County Council aims to cut how much paper the authority uses.
Councillors who triumph in next May’s county council elections will be rewarded not just with a seat on the authority, but with a new brand new gadget to use for council business.
Council bosses say handing members the latest technology will save the council money in the long run and help cut the authority’s carbon footprint.
A report which went before councillors last week stated it is currently possible to produce agendas and papers for meetings and publish them electronically via email or public internet, but that much of the equipment currently being used by councillors - mainly laptops - is not geared up to support easy usage of documents in meetings.
Officers said is not easy to navigate documents or make notes on them, where that would be much easier on tablet based technology.
Cliff Jordan, Norfolk County Council’s cabinet member for efficiency, said: “A number of initiatives have already been drawn together under the council’s Work Style programme, which has been improving productivity and efficient use of resources through increased occupation of office space, selling other premises, whilst enabling flexible working for staff through an increased use of technology.
“It is important that councillors demonstrate their commitment to embracing modern technology in a bid to make the organisation more efficient.
“If agreed by cabinet, from the 2013 elections onwards the county council will operate a paperless democratic process.
“Councillors will receive all communications, including council papers, electronically and will be trained to be able to use Wi-Fi enabled equipment to view and annotate papers in council and committee meetings.
“The county council spends around £35,000 every year on the cost of printing and posting committee papers, so there is a significant saving to the tax payer to be made through embracing new ways of working.”