From Rotherham Advertiser, 22nd March 2013
“£410 iPads ‘will save £630 per councillor’
All 63 RMBC councillors will be offered ipads under new plans which the council says will save money. More than half are expected to hand back their laptops in exchange for the £390 tablet computers.
Rotherham Borough Council says the move will save money on printing agendas and minutes for meetings, with (sic) cost more than £40 000 last year. But the authority knows it must prove the worth of giving councillors iPads, which it admits can be seen as “frivolous” purchases. A trial involving 20 councillors took place in November. A spokesman said
“It has demonstrated that iPads are useful to members. The cost of an iPad to RMBC, including keyboard and cover, is £140. The average amount spent on printing agnedas and minutes for members is £630 each per year.”
Deputy Leader Cllr Jahangir Akhtar, who approved the plan said iPads were also cheaper than the £600 laptops used by the council. He added ” We are trying to work towards being a paperless organisation. This is a considerable saving in capital and ongoing costs. The reason we’ve gone with the iPad is because it’s user-friendly. But one size doesn’t fit all.
“We’re not being prescriptive, so members can choose to keep their laptops. They can report issues from surgeries in real time, which makes more efficient use of members’ and officers’ time”.
Four out of five councillors said they would give up printed agendas if they were given an iPad but around two-thirds have a council printer and most of these – 82 percent- have said they would not give this up.
The spokesman said “Members cited the need to produce letters, newsletters and leaflets as the reason for needing a printer. Some members said that they used their printers to produce copies of documents for archiving and references.”
More than half of members said they would like training to use the iPads and software. “
Have written to Maltby Town Council to suggest that PUTTING INFORMATION ONLINE is a good thing and might just save them some money, as well as assisting the public in constantly having to ‘chase it up’.
I will be writing to Maltby’s 3 RMBC councillors for Maltby – Cllr A Rushforth, Cllr C Beaumont and Cllr M Godfrey – to see what their intentions are regarding laptops, iPads and printers.
It would be interesting to know what leaflets and newsletters need to be printed by individual councillors on a council owned printer on loan to them. Surely saving the documents onto a memory stick or external hard drive to print off by a main council printer would be much more suitable ? Likewise with saving documents for “archiving and reference”.
Think in 2013 that’s the most economical way of doing things.