Fringe Box



Opposition Councillors Want To Try Some Tablets Too

Published on: 20 May, 2013
Updated on: 22 May, 2013
Use of tablet computers by Councillors could remove the need for thousands of pages of paper to be printed every month.

Use of tablet computers by Guildford Borough councillors could remove the need for thousands of pages of paper to be printed every month.

Opposition councillors at Guildford Borough Council are miffed that they have not been included in a trial of ‘tablet’ computers for their council work.

The trial has been been under way for some months to see if it would be practical for councillors to use tablets instead of the reams of papers they normally have to use for background reading and for reference during meetings.

Savings could be significant. Paper and printing costs for the council papers used by the councillors total more than £100,000 annually.

Only Conservative councillors have been allowed to take part in the trial which is being overseen by Cllr Matt Furniss (Con, Christchurch). One councillor has had the necessary software downloaded on to her own iPad. Others have had iPads issued to them specifically for the trial.

Even some conservative councillors admit that they don’t know why opposition councillors were not included.

Anne Meredith, a Liberal Democrat councillor for Friary & St Nicolas Ward, raised the matter at a recent council sub-committee meeting. She said: “It has come to my attention that some councillors had been issued with an iPad as part of a trial on tablets.

“This had not been discussed by the [ICT] working group either at a meeting or on line. The trial was not open to all councillors, as Liberal Democrat councillors were not offered the opportunity to participate.

“I was given an iPad at Christmas and might have liked the opportunity to join in if I had been informed.”

Steve Freeman (Lib Dem Onslow), an IT professional, later said: “While I was aware that a tablet trial was being considered, I had no idea, until recently, that such a trial had started.

“If I had been asked, I would have questioned why only Apple IPads were being used. Not only are they the most expensive, they may not be the best tablets to integrate with the council’s existing IT systems. I would most certainly like to have been taking part in this trial.”

Labour councillors also remain uninformed. Angela Gunning (Lab, Stoke) who leads the two-councillor Labour group said: “So far I  have heard nothing. I was not aware that a trial was in progress.

“It would be useful to use a tablet/iPad especially when documents are at the draft stage. Many amount to 50 to 100 pages with coloured photos as well, which makes it a long, tedious process for home printing, using a lot of ink. I would welcome the opportunity to use a tablet for council business. I hope a ‘best-buy’ is being investigated.”

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Responses to Opposition Councillors Want To Try Some Tablets Too

  1. Paul Hart Reply

    May 20, 2013 at 10:19 pm

    Oh, all right! I’ll be the first to say what you are hinting at. If you are on any sort of tablets, please check with your doctor before driving.

  2. Bernard Parke Reply

    May 22, 2013 at 7:07 am

    All councillors, no matter which party that sponsors them, should be involved in this project and in all policy matters.

    They are democratically elected to represent the people in their wards.

    Unfortunately, most of the councillors affected represent central Guildford wards.

    This is another example for the need of a central Guildford group or council as enjoyed by the outlying wards.

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