Councillors’ £4,000 IT strategy heavily criticised as ‘wanton waste of money’

15:00 13 January 2014

Woman

Woman's hands typing

Archant

Finance bosses at the town hall have been criticised for earmarking £4,000 for laptops and tablets while simultaneously increasing council tax.

But the town clerk said that, if taken up, it could be a viable ‘cost-cutting’ measure because of the soaring increases in posting and the printing of council documents.

On the draft budget papers for 2014-2015 the figures allow for a one-off £4,000 cost to buy councillors laptops or tablets.

Lib Dem councillor Eileen Wragg said: “I do think that it is extravagant.

“I believe that the purchase of these items for town councillors is a wanton waste of money at a time when councils are faced with difficult decisions in making cuts to their funding.

“After all, our only statutory responsibility is for allotments.

“Why on earth do we need extra IT equipment? East Devon has just gone paperless, and councillors have to purchase their own devices.”

By law, councils have to provide documents to councillors in a paper format – but there are moves to allow these documents to be sent electronically.

Town clerk Colin Poole said that the cost of printing, postage and telephones totalled £9,000 during the last financial year.

He said: “We have been looking at opportunities to make savings.

“The cost of postage and printing is going up and up and up.

“It is conceivable that if we purchase electronic devices for the councillors, in two years we would be better off.”

He added: “This may enable those councillors willing and able to sit at meetings with their papers electronically before them to avoid printing costs.

“For others it may be that by contributing towards the cost of print cartridges and paper we save the cost of postage by councillors printing out their own paperwork. For some, it will remain necessary for the council to print off the paperwork and post it. However, if only half the councillors took steps to facilitate cost reduction, then the taxpayer would be better off within a few years.”

0 comments

Other News Stories

Yesterday, 15:04
Exeter Magistrates Court

An Exmouth bus driver has been disqualified from driving after causing a collision.

Read more
Thu, 13:47
Exmouth TSB staff Louise Grant and Ben Pollard with Branch Manager Derek Sowden are pictured presenting a cheque that will total £540 to Richard Cousins and John Arnold from Hospiscare. Ref exe 2551-50-14. Picture: Simon Horn.

Staff at an Exmouth bank have got on their bike for Hospiscare - to round off a successful year of charity fundraising.

Read more
Thu, 09:51
Exeter Magistrates Court

An Exmouth couple could be disqualified from keeping dogs after they breached a control order.

Read more
Thu, 09:05
The seafront Premier Inn is taking shape. Ref exe 8371-42-14SH Picture: Simon Horn

The new Premier Inn on Exmouth seafront has started recruiting staff to fill 23 positions, now a manager and assistant manager have been recruited.

Read more

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 9°C

min temp: 7°C

Most Read News

Photo Orders
Competitions
Subscriptions
Facebook
Family notices
Exmouth Journal E-edition

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Exmouth Journal e-edition today E-edition
Exmouth�s trusted business finder