Council buys iPads - to help save £2m on paper costs
A COUNCIL has decided to reduce the amount of money it spends on paper – by buying iPads for its staff.
Stoke-on-Trent City Council will offer both councillors and officers cash to buy the tablet computers – which cost up to £659 – in a bid to reduce its annual paper bill of £85,000.
The authority believes it could save up to £2 million a year by embarking on a 'paperless journey.'
An internal courier service will also be axed, some photocopiers and printers will be removed, and staff will be instructed to use email instead of posted mail wherever possible.
Purchase this property and receive £250 towards legal fees !! New on the market with no vendor chain !
Terms: Subject to offer and terms and conditions, contact the office for further information.
Contact: 01782 940925
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
The council hopes to have completely banned paper by the time it relocates to its new offices in Hanley in 2015.
However, the plan has been criticised as any savings made on paper will be offset in part by investing in the high-tech iPads, which cost between £399 and £659.
Councillor Dave Conway, leader of the opposition City Independents, said council managers were living in 'cloud cuckoo land.'
He said: "I don't know where we are going with this at a time when nobody has got any money.
"They need to be up front and tell people the real costs.
"I'd also be concerned about them getting lost and into the hands of unscrupulous people.
"We're in cloud cuckoo land."
The Sentinel reported last month how officers lost 20 tablet computers during an office move.
But councillors are adamant the plan will be a success.
City councillor Olwen Hamer, below, cabinet member for transformation and resources, said: "There will be a range of options. One is that if people agree not to use paper there will be a contribution toward iPads.
"We are doing a lot of work on the paperless project including moving towards an electronic postal room, restricting photocopiers and improving the way we scan and file documents."
Deputy leader Paul Shotton added: "We can save £2 million a year just from going paperless – or at least paper-light."
The council is also hoping to cut its £365,000-a-year bill for mail by at least £92,000 after ditching Royal Mail for private firm UK Mail.
Charlie Stewart, the authority's assistant chief executive, said: "We use tonnes and tonnes of paper, literally, and we have to reduce that.
"This is the start of the paperless journey we need to go on.
Residents today raised concerns about the proposal.
Retired secretary Margaret McDonald, aged 69, of Tunstall, said: "I can understand them wanting to use less paper, but why can't they just read their papers and emails on their laptops and computers? It doesn't look good for them to be walking around with hi-tech gadgets when everybody is struggling."