Good to yourselves? Harlow Tories slam Labour councillor’s “I-Pad” proposal
Politics / Tue 1st Jul 2014 pm31 03:59pm
HARLOW Conservatives have raised concerns about the Labour Councils move to issue tablets to councillors.
All members are to receive tablet computers and all other means of access will be withdrawn. Paper agendas will no longer be issued after the July Cabinet and all meetings will be conducted by tablet.
Cllr Andrew Johnson, Leader of Harlow Conservatives said:
“The council is to do away with paper agendas so that meetings are conducted solely by reference to small screens. This may sound like a move to modernisation, but the tablets will be the only source of information for councillors at home and in meetings.
Tablets can be very useful for some activities, but not for handling large numbers of documents, being able to annotate them, store them or cross reference to other papers.
I have serious concerns that members of Planning committee will not be able to adequetly prepare for meetings, with complex maps and plans only visible on a tiny screen. The same goes for trying to analyse large financial spreadsheets.
Where has the consultation been on this issue? Has it really been thought through propely?”
Cllr Joel Charles, Deputy Leader of Harlow Conservatives added:
“Conservative Councillors believe that using new technologies can and often do yield financial savings, but wouldn’t it be better to spend this money on providing housing officers and those frontline staff who interact with the public with tablet computers, so that they can work remotely on site visits and provide a swifter service for members of the public?
It looks like the Labour Party are investing in a vanity project rather than using taxpayers’ money to improve council services.”
Here we go again! It's Councillors Laptops all over again isn't it. Whilst the Tories do raise some fair points that need answering - it is nothing to do with any administration, it's to do with the IT team. These questions need answering, as it is likely that tablets will cost less than laptops, and money will be saved on less paper being used. However, I expect the savings will not come online as quickly as hoped as IT staff will need to attend meetings to help Councillors find what they need in particular meetings! Change takes time and is rarely easy, but on balance, probably a good move. The last line of the Tory response is silly to say the least!
I take it all will be equipped with a chip to give them all mobile access. That way some councillors will be able to update Facebook and twitter on the move. Also how much roaming internet will these have and are they able to log into wifi at the civic?