Friday, 6 August 2010

Public Backlash over Council Ipad Trials.

By Sunil Patel

People in one East Midlands city have reacted angrily to the council plans to roll out the Apple “Ipad” gadgets for of some of their staff, at the same time as announcing massive cuts to jobs and services. 

Initially, four Leicester City Council councillors will take part in the controversial trial to use the £699 Apple-made tablets.  

If the scheme is successful the handheld devices will be made available to all 54 councillors at a cost of £40,000.    

Shopkeeper Mr Vadher, 40, who owns the Main Store, Leicester, said: “I think it is a huge waste of money especially when thousands of council workers are struggling to keep their jobs.” 

Last week, the council announced that it needs to find £100 million of savings by 2015; the authority could also be set to cut up to 1,000 jobs over the next four years.  

A council employee who did not wish to be named said: “I think this decision sends out the wrong message, the council should be working hard on saving jobs.” 

The employee who works for the health and social care department added: “The councillors are just being lazy, why can they work from home when the rest of us have to go into the office. 

“If they do need computers why can’t they just all have laptops, this would work out a lot cheaper?”   

Chief executive Shelia Lock recently distributed an internal memo to all Leicester city council staff on this issue.

The memo stated that through increased use of the Ipad the council will aim to make savings of between up to £90,000 a year on printing costs.
According to the chief executive, it seems as though the device’s wider use has already been decided.  

She said: “There is a perception that iPads are some sort of luxury 'must-have' toy, this may be true for some people, but for us they are not.” 

“One of our councillors has been using one for a few weeks and is already convinced it is helping him to perform his role much more effectively.

“A councillor was able to chair a major council meeting just by using his iPad, thus avoiding printing off dozens of pages of reports.” 

Photograph from Apple Website.

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