Is it right to spend thousands of pounds on new computers and tablets for councillors?
- Credit: Archant
A council’s decision to spend thousands on IT updates and tablets is “hard to justify,” according to a think tank.
Thetford Town Council will be making the improvements following its finance committee meeting, at which members chose to use £9,000 from its reserves to fund "essential IT upgrades and tablets".
Committee chairman Jane James said the money will be used to buy new computers and tablets for councillors.
She said: "The refresh of IT equipment is something that had previously been identified and provided for through the establishment of the IT reserve.
"As Windows 7 is coming to the end of being supported by Microsoft, Thetford Town Council have decided to embark on that refresh programme now.
You may also want to watch:
"This ensures that safeguards such as antivirus and software compatibility mean the town council can remain compliant and manage their electronic security risks effectively.
"The introduction of tablets was identified by the council as a means of reducing their paper usage and therefore reducing their environmental impact."
- 1 Man charged with supplying Class A drugs in Thetford
- 2 Schools in Norfolk closed or partially shut due to coronavirus
- 3 Viking themed children's play area confirmed at town's historic park
- 4 'He's a dear little dog' - Thieves steal family pet Arthur
- 5 Rough sleepers' plea to be 'kept inside' as council secures £635k funding
- 6 Shoppers support market town traders as second lockdown lifts
- 7 Parts of Norfolk may see snow by end of the week, say forecasters
- 8 'Disgusting' - councillor slams culprits for defecating on footpaths and in front gardens
- 9 Stephen Fry voices heart-warming animation of rescued blind horse
- 10 Illegal puppy farm warning as one in ten plan to buy dog for Christmas
But think tank, the Taxpayers' Alliance, said the move was hard to justify and the council must show that improvements have been made.
John O'Connell, chief executive, said: "This level of spending by a town council seems very hard to justify: their budgeted office overheads in 2018-19 were £9,100.
"If local authorities are able to evidence savings in printing costs and improved councillor attendance and performance, then these devices can be of benefit to taxpayers.
"In future, though, only the largest local authorities should indulge in these kind of purchases: town councils rarely have sufficient levels of responsibility to allow for such an outlay."
Thetford councillor Terry Jermy said the council must remain transparent.
He said: "It's a big investment but they will save money in the long run for going paperless.
"We need it make sure agendas are available on the website or hard copies available. The council needs to be transparent, it's about having a balance.
"We don't want to be excluding people who don't have the internet."