As we revealed here last week, Richmondshire District Council plans to issue all councillors with iPads in a bid to turn the council into a paperless office.
It’s a move the council believes will safe money in the long run but has been criticised by some local residents and even some of those local councillors being asked to work in a new way.
The press release and surrounding documentation seemed vague on some points so we asked the council to explain more. Here, in full, are the questions put to the council and the answers provided.
What’s the total cost to the council?
£10,727.00 – one off cost
How many iPads are required?
Are they all being funded by the council or are they the councillors personal devices?
All devices are being funded by – and belong to the Council, for two reasons:
1. The Council’s Public Services Network (PSN) Code of Connection (CoCo) requires us to meet strict security guidelines from Central Government – this is due to the type of information held on our ICT network and which devices attach to the network.
2. Under Data Protection legislation, the Council and Councillors have a duty to ensure that any personal or sensitive information is managed and stored in a secure fashion. Using personal devices leaves the Council (and individual Councillors) open to significant fines or sanctions from the Information Commissioners Office should that device be compromised.
If the former, it would be unlikely that councillor Peacock’s statement about comparative costs is correct – laptops are far cheaper than ipads these days……..what research was carried out to compare cost?
The iPads work out cheaper than laptops given we purchase robust, serviceable models with a specification and processing power to last for at least a Councillor’s term of office. We have found that the cheaper laptops are not fit for purpose and break easily, causing the user to be without equipment while it is being repaired or replaced (which is also costly). The additional software required for installation adds significantly to this cost. We also need to encrypt the laptops, install anti-virus software and add virtual private network (VPN) software on them to allow secure access to the ICT network.
What is it about iPads versus laptops that enables the councillors to do their jobs more easily?
Ease of use: the devices are easy to use and are very intuitive. Touch screen technology and a wide range of accessibility features in the iOS operating system makes them suitable for most people.
Size and portability: the iPad is compact, light and have much longer battery life.
There’s also this curious paragraph: “There may also be the potential for further savings be made to ICT budgets as the figures in Appendix 2 demonstrate that the cost of a new iPad is £315.50 compared with £700 for a new lap top. Any savings arising under ICT budgets will be reported in year as and when they are made.”
More savings will be made due to the fact we will not supply printers, cartridges and paper to Members which was done previously.
Are the councillors perhaps buying second hand iPads?
The Apple iPad’s are the iPad Air 16g version not the latest iPad Air 2 16g.
All iPads are bought brand new and come with a 3 year warranty. The costs are broken down below