Wandsworth councillors to get free loans to buy tablet computers as council cuts paper usage

Wandsworth Guardian: Councillors will have to purchase their own iPads, Androids or Kindles Councillors will have to purchase their own iPads, Androids or Kindles

Printed council documents could soon be a thing of the past with Wandsworth Council moving into the digital era by using tablets.

The council are proposing to save money on printing agendas by encouraging members to access documents through the Modgov app.

Councillors will have to purchase their own iPads, Androids or Kindles, making an annual saving of £29,093.

Money usually reserved for the provision of IT equipment will be put towards the council's savings target, adding a further saving of £50,000.

Interest free loans will be on offer to help councillors purchase their tablets.

Some councillors already use the Modgov app, which allows users to download, read and annotate all committee papers published on the council's website.

A number of members have expressed some concern committee documents may be too large to download onto tablets and they may struggle to use them.

However, training sessions are set to take place after the local elections on how to use the programmes.

Committee cycles and council meetings are also being reduced from six to four per annum in a cost-cutting measure.

The move will make a saving of £36,000, with two roles in the administration department will be cut as a result.

Opposition councillors are opposing the move and claim it will lead to a lack of scrutiny, requesting a motion to instead reduce committees to five a year.

A council document said: "The chief executive and director of administration’s conclusion... is that a move to four committee cycles per year...would enable the council to make significant efficiencies, whilst maintaining a transparent and robust approach to scrutiny as the number of decisions scrutinised by members and transparent to residents, would still be higher  than seen in other local authorities."

Labour councillor, Councillor James Daley, said: "We only have six council meetings.

"That is going to be less opportunities for us to get together and debate the issues and scrutinise the business of the council which is what we are elected to do.

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