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Worthing and Adur councillors to get iPads
Councillors could get iPads at a cost to the taxpayer of more than £20,000.
Members representing areas on Worthing Borough Council and Adur District Council could soon be accessing town hall agendas and planning papers from tablet computers as part of a widespread plan to go “paper-free”.
iPads, which are designed for people to read documents, watch videos and access the internet while on the move, are favoured by technology geeks and youngsters.
But town hall bosses claim the move, which it believes will save money on paper and postage costs, is essential to meet the “desire for a portable office”.
Adur District Council leader Neil Parkin said: “If it’s saving money I should think the taxpayers will be pleased.
“The police have done something similar and they think it will save them over £1 million.”
Worthing council leader Paul Yallop said some agendas were more than 200 pages long.
He added: “I can understand that people will have their concerns but it’s important this is not seen as some kind of junket. They will be encrypted so they can only be used for council business.
“If it’s helping our green credentials then that’s even better.”
From February, all 66 members on the two local authorities will be given the chance to get either a laptop computer and bag or an iPad. Both will be Wi-Fi enabled so the councillors can access the internet in the council chamber but will not have access to 3G.
However the local authority admitted iPads are not as secure as laptops because information cannot be encrypted.
The council said a laptop with a case would cost £450 compared to £290 for an iPad.
This will increase to £320 if it is an iPad3, the latest model to be released by Apple. It claims the maximum cost will be about £27,000 for both councils combined.
However there are no details on how much it would save the local authorities.
Sarah Gobey, the executive head of financial services for Adur and Worthing councils, said: “It is important to appreciate that it is important for members to have access to new technology to perform their duties.”
A decision will be made at the council’s joint strategic committee in Worthing Town Hall on Thursday.
Some Brighton and Hove councillors use iPads in the council chamber although these are paid for by themselves.