Council limits support for non-iPad devices

A council will no longer offer support for Microsoft devices used by its councillors, offering them incentives to move to iPads.

South Cambridgeshire District Council said that members will now be given a choice of buying a new iPad device using their monthly expenses allowance, or using their own devices – with the latter only offered limited support.

It said that the move would save the £34,000 cost of upgrading council laptops which would have otherwise been needed following Microsoft’s decision to stop supporting its XP operating system. Another £3,000 in annual revenue costs would also be saved, it said.

A report to councillors said: “This proposal would provide access to new equipment for members to use on council business, allow easy and secure access to corporate emails without redirection and give members a choice of their preferred style – either iPad type tablet or retention of the existing laptop.”

The move will allow members to access council email and other services on the authority’s browser without the need for a separate dongle, and will improve security, according to the report.

A review carried out by the council concluded that iPads offer advantages including portability, ease of use and potential cost reductions.

It said that councillors would pay £10 a month for their full four year terms to be provide with a new iPad, which would be fully supported by the council’s ICT service.

Support for members’ own devices would be available only for iPads, but for other tablet devices only on a “best endeavours” basis.

Those wishing to retain their PC or laptop would be take ownership of their existing council-provided device at a depreciated price, but would not receive technical support.

Training in the use of iPads will be offered to members.

Colin Marrs

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