Councillors kitted out with new iPads

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AS revealed in last week’s ‘MAIL’ Craigavon councillors have been kitted out with new iPads.

It’s hoped by equipping councillors with iPads they will be saving ratepayers over £10,000 a year.

Prior to the introduction of iPads, the 26 Members of Craigavon had laptops, a smart phone with 3g connection, printers and broadband supplied to their homes and they used these to access all pertinent information on Council.

This cost in the region of £828 for each Councillor plus an ongoing monthly cost of £54.47. In addition, they also received minutes of Council meetings and Committees in hard copy.

Craigavon has two monthly meetings as well various committee meetings throughout the month which led to a large amount of paper changing hands.

Now with iPads they can access all of this information at a reduced cost as they only need an iPad, printer and 3G connection – saving on line rental and broadband.

The iPads and corresponding hardware results in saving £4,134 for all 26 Members.

On top of this is an ongoing monthly saving of £20 per month per councillor which gives a secondary saving of £6,542.

In total by using iPads the Council has estimated it will save £10,676 every year.

In addition there is no need for any additional hard copy of minutes which again will result in more savings to the ratepayer.

Although there is an initial outlay of £15,000 for the iPads the ‘MAIL’ has been told this will self-finance itself over three years from the savings on the line rental and broadband alone.

Mayor of Craigavon, Councillor Alan Carson said: “It’s working very well and once again shows that Craigavon is leading in this area.

“Initially I was sceptical especially when we had to buy the iPads. However, given the savings on both line rental and broadband it was a win win situation for Council and for the ratepayers”.

One Member who initially declined an iPad is Alderman Woolsey Smith who has been a long-standing member of council. However, Alderman Smith has now requested an iPad and although has not had his iPad training is looking forward to the challenge.

“I can manage a mobile phone,” commented Alderman Smith, “I’m sure with training I can manage this”.