Home Gloucester Gloucester City Council take the Tablet

Gloucester City Council take the Tablet

by Barry
Angry Birds

Angry Birds (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“We are all in it together”, “the council must cut costs” etc etc.  We have heard the lot, repeatedly, as our services are slashed, burned and surcharged.  But it seems that we need not let that get in the way of new gadgets.  Today, Cllr Seb Field (Lib Dem) announced on twitter that he is testing the use of a tablet to see if it will aid Councillors do their job.  He rounds it off with a #toughjob hashtag, recognising the fact that he is really taking the mickey with our tax funds.  While I am a huge advocate of technology, even I can tell you, without the £300+ bill to the tax payer, that this is a waste of tax payers money.

Councillors already get a smart phone, internet access subsidy and the like for their work so that will easily cover email, phone calls etc.  Social media is well covered too, so what does a tablet actually give a councillor that they don;t have already.  Have the council developed a novel new application that will work well and increase productivity, nope!  And that’s the only advantage that I see.  Considering so few Councillors are on social media, and they already have the ability to do it, then this isn’t going to push them into it.

I wonder what the perceived requirement for the tablet is, and how it is being judged to meet the requirement.  What formal testing is it going through, what task analysis has been done?  Or is it a half assed play with technology for the sake of it and then sticking the finger in the air and deciding its a must have?  I know where my money is right now.  Tablets are good for browsing more than creating and editing documents and who is going to pay for the Apps they require? Is the IT policy good enough to stop random downloading of apps that are not pertinent to the job? 

Maybe they just want to compete for DC’s score on Angry Birds!

I sincerely hope that this is a zero cost trial, or using a private tablet for the duration, if the Council have forked out for this, then it doesn’t really sit well with all the cuts being made.

 ****** Update******
Cllr Declan Wilson has highlighted the reason for the trial is to see if they can cut down the costs of printing, which will be high I should imagine.  Especially as they will send out Agendas, Minutes, letters as well as casework documentation.   A somewhat useful contribution, and it would be interesting to see the cost of Councillor centred printing.  I assume this figure must exist now, otherwise what is it being measured against?
For those who like numbers, 1 ream (500 sheets) of A4 everyday paper costs around £4.  For the cost of the Tablets, you can purchase 4050 reams of paper, which is 2,025,000 sheets.  Thats 56,250 per councillor, or 112.5 reams.  While they may have a lot of printing, do they have that much?  This only works if the devices can be made to last a few years to bring in the savings.  (And those calcs didn’t include maintenance and infrastructure).
Further update – apparently the cost per councillor is £300 per year, which is approx 75 reams of paper each!
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James Hoddy June 7, 2012 - 11:25 am

This is wise words Barry, I faced up to him on Twitter and I have still not got an answer to a couple of questions I have asked him

Tony hunt June 7, 2012 - 3:21 pm

I’m sure they can pay for their own aspirin/paracetamol/ibuprufen. Does an apple I pad a day (or councillor) keep the doctor away?

I don’t believe it. Of course paper print outs will need extortionate posting costs too?

I can’t wait to leave Gloucester.

Richard NSNO June 7, 2012 - 10:50 pm

James Hoddy, you’re a clown for ever making this into an issue. It’s not an issue. People need tools to do a job, and that’s all this is. You’ve not listened at all to Seb’s reasons given for the trial (which is all it is incidentally, just a trial), you’ve just attacked him with your faux outrage and tried to make this into a party political issue, which it’s not. You seriously ought to grow up instead of playing such games.

James Hoddy June 8, 2012 - 11:46 pm


I decided I shall make this my last communication with you to use more than 140 character. Seb Field had a chance to try and explain and he gave me two reasons 1) To save Paper and then 2) to replace laptops and mobile phones.

I continued to ask questions he did not answer so I thought his explanation was somewhat lacking.

As a tax payer and being interested in politics I wanted to know where the money was coming from etc, etc; You said that I didn’t understand what you were trying to explain, you then decided to use insults, I asked you to try and sum up what you meant, and you used more insults.

You laid into me with plain bullying tactics which people thought were outrageous especially calling me stupid, thick, and saying Labour were scraping the barrel when it comes to candidates when they chose me.

Can I just say that I have stood toe to toe debating with Liberal Democrats and Tories, who have shown more manners than you have, using a vocabulary that did not use any ignoramus insults that you decided to use, but language of education and understanding.

People I spoken to this evening all think your comments were uncalled for, I blocked you and will hope to never cross paths with you, unless it is on a rugby pitch which if happens would be a day I would relish, you have shown the colours of a yellow bellied bully and personally I think you wouldn’t say what you did face to face in a mans game.

After seeing Barry’s update, I also say that it is amazing that once again someone of opposition in the form of Cllr Declan Wilson has explained this further and I now understand. He didn’t need to throw bullying tactics and insults, he used clear language.

Richard I would like to say it has been a pleasure, I wont.

Barry June 8, 2012 - 9:07 am

Apparently this discussion counts as “Rage” in todays paper 🙂


Hmmm, they want to see me really annoyed 🙂

Richard NSNO June 8, 2012 - 11:02 am

Well Barry, if you (and your cohorts) will feed inadequate journalists with non-stories, whilst ignoring or neglecting to establish half the facts, then you can hardly be surprised if they make up the rest!

There really is no story here, hence the local rag’s attempt at sensationalising it by making yours and James’ reaction into the story! TiG don’t like the Labour Party, so expecting any favours from them is naive to say the least.

You may also have left Kate in a difficult position, as I imagine she would have been supportive of this measure, but now she’ll have no choice but to back your views or more likely say nothing. I wonder whether you even know who the six councillors are that are trialling the tablets. Did you consider that some of them may have been Labour councillors?

Barry June 9, 2012 - 7:23 pm

I’m pleased to see that you have taken your own advice and got to the facts. Part of the twitter conversation has been about getting to the facts. I am more than entitles to have my own opinion, and also the ability to express it. There has been no “feeding” of journalists, but they are ore than entitled to picking it up. As for the Citizen being anti-Labour, I tend to disagree, while not Pro Labour, they are pretty Fair when we give them the chance.

I don’t feel that this is a non-story, its a story that needed established and got to the bottom of, which we are doing.

As for talking to Kate, as I’m not a member of the Labour group, then I have no whip, and just because Labour Councillor may be taking part int he trial, wouldn’t change my opinion about the way the trail is conducted. By the same token, Kate didn’t become group leader by not disagreeing with the likes of me should she feel something differently.

As a final note, I left Richards first comment in place because while it got personal the general theme contributed to the discussion, however please keep the comments on topic and not a slanging match, it degrades you both as individuals as well as the debate.

(James response to Richards comment stayed because it was justified in response tot he original personal comments, but don;t be surprised if I edit them both!)

Richard NSNO June 10, 2012 - 2:22 pm

Don’t be patronising Barry – I’m well aware of the facts. As for the journalist being fed the story, he certainly was. If I could be bothered, I’d look for the tweet that James sent him alerting him to the (non) story.

Yes, of course you are entitled to your own opinion, but, whether you like it or not, you are associated with the Labour Party, and to make a mountain out of a molehill like this without perhaps finding out whether it will cause political embarrassment to your elected colleagues is rather foolish. Oh, and there are some Labour councillors trialling the tablets, but of course you knew this.

Joe K June 8, 2012 - 9:36 am

Welcome to the Crazy Gang, Barry 🙂

‘Don’t make me irate, you wouldn’t like me…’

Soz for the ‘Kerby’ typo, BTW, I was in a rush…

Justin Case June 12, 2012 - 7:21 pm

I have blogged on this story here: http://t.co/7Ifia5Sp

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