County eyes £100k savings from moving elected members online

Cambridgeshire County Council is looking to migrate its councillors to paperless working in a bid to save more than £100,000 in document production over five years.

It is planning to provide its 69 elected members with business-level tablets at a projected cost of around £1,500 per unit – including software and support – over the period. The programme would also see councillors provided with software that would allow them to access council data securely through their own smartphones and other devices.

In a report to members of Cambridgeshire’s general purposes committee this week, director of customer service and transformation Sue Grace said the proposals would see the introduction of hardware and software that council officers already used themselves.

She added that the move would realise “significant savings” in the cost of print, hardware leases, manual preparation, distribution costs and waste-disposal, and that a uniform IT offer for councillors would also improve data security.

“Currently members use a wide range of personal equipment to access confidential data,” she said.

“This has been identified as significant personal and business risk. This proposal addresses these risks taking account of the statutory requirements around information management and security. 

“The requirement to move members to a paperless office environment with full security conformance will be achieved by uniformly implementing this approach, with an understanding of the specific needs of members in doing so.”

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Her report to the committee said the print-related savings generated by a move to uniform laptops or tablets for councillors would be more than £50,000 over three years, rising to more than £100,000 over a five year term. 

It said the basic proposal was to provide all councillors with a standard mobile device, and identified Dell Venue Pro+ 10ins tablets with keyboards as “excellent” examples for cost-modelling purposes. However the report accepted that technologies were continuing to evolve.

It added that tablets would be set up to auto-connect to the county’s wifi networks, have the authority’s antivirus management and corporate encription, and be built and set up with Skype for Business ready for when the service went live at the authority.

Jim Dunton

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