Councillors to get iPads to save cash?

GIVING iPads to councillors would save money – that is the opinion of a senior figure at North Somerset Council.

Jeremy Blatchford, the authority’s executive member for children’s services, believes having Apple’s electronic tablet devices would save money on printing papers.

He said: “It would be cheaper to give every councillor an iPad and get rid of our committee papers.”

He also said the tablets could be used to have video meetings with other councillors, cutting down on transport and accommodation costs, and the cameras they have could be used to take photographs during visits to developments sites.

The Nailsea councillor added: “The whole process needs a dramatic overhaul.

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“The council used to print out hundreds of copies of committee papers. But if you only need to print out a small number, the whole infrastructure vanishes.

“I think the authority needs to be braver over ICT and save a lot of money.”

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But Clevedon councillor David Shopland, who does not claim any expenses, said he would be opposed to any decision to give them to members for free.

He said : “If councillors want to use iPads, they should buy them with their own money. Councillors can do their duties perfectly well without them.”

Although the council has not yet confirmed whether it will invest in iPads, Cllr Shopland criticised the way it allocates funding for schemes.

He said: “There seem to be funds available when the executive thinks something has to be done.

“For example, it is cutting street lights. But the money for the lights could be found by cutting out Life magazine. Which of those is most important?”

He said the council might be able to do more to find savings after Cllr Peter Bryant revealed the authority had saved �25,000 a year by scrapping members’ pigeon holes.

A spokesman for North Somerset Council said: “The council is always looking for the most cost effective ways of distributing papers and information to councillors.”

He said the council had not ruled out giving some sort of electronic device to councillors but no plans have yet been made either way.

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