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.

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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.”

16 comments

  • Technology is wasted on these people. Make them buy their own

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    Jacob Burns

    Monday, December 10, 2012

  • Daisy Roots has a very valid point re 'the trumpet blowing NCC newspaper was not printed several times every year the cost of paper and distribution and recycling would pay for councillors to remain papered up' - if the council are so concerned about all this 'carbon footprint' regarding the 'cost of printing' their 'newspaper' - Then why? Oh why? don't they put their 'newspaper' on the internet ? Then we can all use our ipads to read it ? That includes the councilors with their new Christmas presents of ipads which we paid for !

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    Stop Press

    Monday, December 10, 2012

  • Every time I see Cliff Jordan mentioned I think- what does he do, what does he bring to the role of councillor. On the Coltishall comments I was told he works for the council-but what is his job? Graham Plant brings the unique qualifications of a chip shop and Italian restaurant owner to the position of cabinet member with responsibility for the NDR plans and transport , other councillors are, I gather, solicitors, business owners. etc We are protected now from councillors who are d*cky dealers by declarations of interest, but are we protected from those who really don't have the qualities needed to make the decisions they do on matters such as Coltishall and the NDR .I suppose council minutes would reveal who first proposes anything-whether the lead comes from councillors or council employees but I still think voters and council tax payers should be able to access easily a full school to current date CV for all candidates and councillors. As for the tablets, if the trumpet blowing NCC newspaper was not printed several times every year the cost of paper and distribution and recycling would pay for councillors to remain papered up, because they will only lose their ipads or sit on them or spill their dinners on them.

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    Daisy Roots

    Monday, December 10, 2012

  • I trust they will have to give them back after they have been kicked out at next year's elections. Or is it part of their retirement package?

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    Barking

    Monday, December 10, 2012

  • Best use of my council tax I've seen so far this year, NOT. Must need them so they don't feel like poor relations anymore when meeting the Cory execs; the contract with NCC is funding all the latest toys for them doubtless.

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    Police Commissioner ???

    Monday, December 10, 2012

  • "Cliff Jordan, Norfolk County Council’s cabinet member for efficiency," Every time I see that I laugh. The words "Council" and "efficiency" cannot be used in the same sentence, especially when it applies to this particular one. So he's spent an undisclosed sum to buy RAF Coltishall, and still has no idea what to do with it, now he wastes yet more of our money on these ridiculous I Pads. Most of his colleaugues will not have the faintest idea what to do with them, they work for the council after all, and I GUARANTEE right now that NCC will spend MORE than £35000 next year on paper and printing. Do I recall NCC was trying to make £150,000,000 of savings, I know where I'd start!

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    windup

    Monday, December 10, 2012

  • Open Source is not the answer to everything and a proprietary software solution like that of RIM's Blackberry might be superior. But Mr Wagenknecht if you really want the answers to your questions , then direct them to the council and not leave rhetoric in a comments section for a newspaper.

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    G_of_Norwich

    Monday, December 10, 2012

  • G of Norwich, ask the city of Munich why they changed their whole administration to linux open software, a much simpler and safer operating base than those dependent on oiks and feeders. As for access, and speaking here, should we ask you first, whoever you are?

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Monday, December 10, 2012

  • Most of these councillors are dinosaurs and don't haver the capabilities to use them. I expect they will eventually find their way into some nephews stocking for Xmas.

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    John L Norton

    Monday, December 10, 2012

  • The carbon footprint for the manufacture of all these 'tablets' must not be ignored including the batteries, which once exhausted, will mean the council will then have to purchased the 'tablets' once more!

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    Stop Press

    Monday, December 10, 2012

  • The usual diet of half truths and sensational headlines from the EDP. If anybody actually bothers to read the paper in the Council website they will see that most of the money is being spent on upgraded AV presentation equipment in the chamber rooms and on wireless access in the same rooms, not on the iPads themselves. I'm sure that the moaning idiots will still whine about that, but at least make the effort to find out the truth and not rely on misleading rubbish from the EDP.

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    Pentney Voice

    Monday, December 10, 2012

  • "Carbon Footprint" ?. What about all the cars in the "Kremlin " car park ?. What about the special bus used between the Kremlin and Norwich Centre ?. Cut this out and reduce the number of non jobbers, jobsworths and councillors, then they can start talking about "Carbon Footprint" !.

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    "V"

    Monday, December 10, 2012

  • This will not exclude cllr. to use their heads, even if they only follow Cliff Jordan's example, i.e. using his bonz to break the bank. Gizmo's for dizzmo's, there's always money for toys, eh. What of those council supplied laptops cllr. operate already? will they become obsolete when this new wheeze for whatever company arrives? And will these new pads run on open source Linux software, or will they be harassed by proprietary software and their viruses ? will cllr. be allowed to use encryption and who will have access to their work tablet's official material?

    Report this comment

    ingo wagenknecht

    Monday, December 10, 2012

  • Yet another waste of our council tax! £175k being spent to save £35k a year, so its going to take 5 years for them to pay for themselves. However, its very unlikely that the tablets will last that long so a large proportion of these will need replacing before they have paid for themselves. Take the printers away and they wont be used, £35k saving, simples! No Business would agree to this sort of expenditure.

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    Crazy

    Monday, December 10, 2012

  • However many county councillors do we have - £175,000 will buy 472 ipads (Genuine) from the apple store! This story says ipad 'type' tablets so thet will be the cheaper option. Just done a quick search, there are 85 councillors so the equipment should cost no more than £31,500. So, where is the other £143,000 going? Oh I know, it will be outside consultants to show them how to use them. Something that most people already know - Once again a terrible waste of OUR money!

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    IT Man

    Monday, December 10, 2012

  • Cabinet member for efficiency? best dispense with him and most of his colleagues and save the cost of salaries,expense claims and reduce council tax! There are too many people employed in local government these days and that is the reason council tax is so high! Gordon Brown expanded the public sector by 600,000 jobs,while manufacturing shrunk from 13% to 9% of the british economy,no wonder the country is bankrupt!

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    Harry Rabinowitz

    Monday, December 10, 2012

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