Council defends move to give iPads and iPhones to politicians

St Helens Star: Council defends move to give iPads and iPhones to politicians Council defends move to give iPads and iPhones to politicians

ALL of St Helens’ 48 councillors have been handed local authority funded Apple iPads and iPhones as part of a move to take the town hall into the “21st century”.

The council believes the equipment will help it move towards a “paperless” working environment.

Various council meeting agendas normally result in huge bundles of papers being printed out, so it is claimed a reduction in this will help cut costs.

It is also seen as a step to help councillors strengthen their ties with constituents through social media, such as Twitter.

However, buying such expensive equipment for elected politicians – who already receive graded allowances dependent on levels of responsibility – may raise eyebrows considering senior Labour councillors are repeatedly condemning cuts in central government funding.

Taxpayer groups said the council must ensure its getting “good value” from the equipment, so that the public do not regard it as money being wasted on the latest gadgets.

And the Department for Communities and Local Government called on St Helens Council to illustrate “if and how this will save money and over what period”.

A St Helens Council spokeswoman explained the move: “Gone are the days when councillors turned up for meetings clutching reams of paper agendas.

“All agendas are now sent to their computers as part of a drive to reduce paper use.

“Councillors give up a huge amount of time dealing with ward issues and it is important to engage with residents as quickly and easily as possible.

“The rapid growth in social media means they can deliver a better service and public engagement more speedily.

“This is all part of the new government agenda rolled out to councils across the country. Councillors across Merseyside and across a large part of the country now have computers to deliver 21st century councils.”

John O’Connell, director at the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said the council should do all it can to save money: “The council has to ensure it is getting good value from these purchases.

“At a time when necessary savings are being made, residents do not expect their hard-earned cash to be wasted on the latest gadget.

“The council should work hard to make sure they get the most cost-effective device, and that steps are taken to completely cut out needless paperwork."

The Department for Communities and Local Government added: “Councils account for a quarter of all public spending and need to play their part reducing the inherited deficit.

“St Helens must justify its spending to hard working families and should be able to demonstrate if and how this will save money and over what period.

“The public are entitled to know what councils are doing with taxpayers’ money, that is why the Government has required every council to publish all their spending over £500.”

Comments (39)

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10:26am Thu 3 Apr 14

barrie timpson says...

Are we going to put up with this? They are paid handsomely - if they want these things they should pay for them out of their own pocket.

Running on fumes?? I don't think so. They should wear masks. At least now we know why we're getting a council tax rise.
Are we going to put up with this? They are paid handsomely - if they want these things they should pay for them out of their own pocket. Running on fumes?? I don't think so. They should wear masks. At least now we know why we're getting a council tax rise. barrie timpson
  • Score: 22

10:40am Thu 3 Apr 14

Keva68 says...

Ipad=£500
iPhone=£500
Total £48000
I would like to to the bill for the savings due to reduction of use in paper next year to see if it's more than £48000.But then again the Ipad 6 and IPhone 6 will be out by then so will this mean another £48000.
Surely release some figures at least to justify this spending.
Ipad=£500 iPhone=£500 Total £48000 I would like to to the bill for the savings due to reduction of use in paper next year to see if it's more than £48000.But then again the Ipad 6 and IPhone 6 will be out by then so will this mean another £48000. Surely release some figures at least to justify this spending. Keva68
  • Score: 15

10:42am Thu 3 Apr 14

barrie timpson says...

Don't forget we'll be paying the phone bills as well. What's wrong with a second hand laptop? I can get emails on my 20 pound rubbish phone.


LABOUR OUT LABOUR OUT LABOUR OUT !
Don't forget we'll be paying the phone bills as well. What's wrong with a second hand laptop? I can get emails on my 20 pound rubbish phone. LABOUR OUT LABOUR OUT LABOUR OUT ! barrie timpson
  • Score: 14

11:28am Thu 3 Apr 14

jumperr says...

If you don't do nothing with the emails and telephone calls now what is this difference going to make,are they going to put the FaceTime app to use ,can we send them real time happenings, bated breath?
If you don't do nothing with the emails and telephone calls now what is this difference going to make,are they going to put the FaceTime app to use ,can we send them real time happenings, bated breath? jumperr
  • Score: 7

12:24pm Thu 3 Apr 14

M.Hinge says...

What next will Cash Strapped St.Helens Town Hall spend their Disabled Bedroom Penalty on!
What next will Cash Strapped St.Helens Town Hall spend their Disabled Bedroom Penalty on! M.Hinge
  • Score: 7

12:39pm Thu 3 Apr 14

Hughwithaview says...

The arrogance of this Council knows no bounds! Grunewald has the audacity to whine and complain about Government budget cuts and the bare face cheek to insist that our Council Tax increase is necessary????????

Purchasing iPads and iPhones for Councillors is a total waste of money and shows the contempt in which the residents of St Helens are held by this Labour regime. It is about time people woke up and voted them out.

The Council offices have supposedly been aiming to go paperless for years but they still get through enough reams a year to cover the UK 10 times over so that lame argument just does not stand up whatsoever. As for conversing with residents, Facebook and Twitter are not the correct platforms and do they really need an iphone to make a simple phone call or an iPad to send an email?

It seems to me that it's all about a bunch of self serving posers standing around clutching the latest gadgets - worst still, at least half of them will not even know how to use an iPad or iPhone!
The arrogance of this Council knows no bounds! Grunewald has the audacity to whine and complain about Government budget cuts and the bare face cheek to insist that our Council Tax increase is necessary???????? Purchasing iPads and iPhones for Councillors is a total waste of money and shows the contempt in which the residents of St Helens are held by this Labour regime. It is about time people woke up and voted them out. The Council offices have supposedly been aiming to go paperless for years but they still get through enough reams a year to cover the UK 10 times over so that lame argument just does not stand up whatsoever. As for conversing with residents, Facebook and Twitter are not the correct platforms and do they really need an iphone to make a simple phone call or an iPad to send an email? It seems to me that it's all about a bunch of self serving posers standing around clutching the latest gadgets - worst still, at least half of them will not even know how to use an iPad or iPhone! Hughwithaview
  • Score: 22

1:09pm Thu 3 Apr 14

jumperr says...

New councillor = new gadgets?
New councillor = new gadgets? jumperr
  • Score: 4

1:18pm Thu 3 Apr 14

barrie timpson says...

If we are going paperless , will they purchase us all an ipad to send the council tax bill??

LABOUR OUT LABOUR OUT LABOUR OUT!!!
If we are going paperless , will they purchase us all an ipad to send the council tax bill?? LABOUR OUT LABOUR OUT LABOUR OUT!!! barrie timpson
  • Score: 13

1:36pm Thu 3 Apr 14

Bill Bradbury says...

As a school GovernorI have been asking years for lap-tops for the mounds of paper that School Governors get and am told virtually to get lost --no money. Hmmm!!

At least if meetings get boring they could stream Corrie or Emmerdale or even look up the odds for the National. (That reminds me that's my next task on my steam driven computer)
As a school GovernorI have been asking years for lap-tops for the mounds of paper that School Governors get and am told virtually to get lost --no money. Hmmm!! At least if meetings get boring they could stream Corrie or Emmerdale or even look up the odds for the National. (That reminds me that's my next task on my steam driven computer) Bill Bradbury
  • Score: 1

2:14pm Thu 3 Apr 14

jumperr says...

It will be easier to look up the rules and regs they have set, spring watch etc rather than I can't, instant transcript no excuses !
It will be easier to look up the rules and regs they have set, spring watch etc rather than I can't, instant transcript no excuses ! jumperr
  • Score: 4

2:15pm Thu 3 Apr 14

jumperr says...

I should have added they will be sending them back now they might know what they have committed too!
I should have added they will be sending them back now they might know what they have committed too! jumperr
  • Score: 2

2:54pm Thu 3 Apr 14

Sankey says...

In principle a good idea but the devil is in the enforcement.

If they give them these no printed documents they cant have both.
In principle a good idea but the devil is in the enforcement. If they give them these no printed documents they cant have both. Sankey
  • Score: 0

3:23pm Thu 3 Apr 14

rosered1 says...

Just how can they defend the indefensible? Job cuts a plenty yet £48000 found at a snap of the fingers for councillors toys. Utterly ridiculous.
Just how can they defend the indefensible? Job cuts a plenty yet £48000 found at a snap of the fingers for councillors toys. Utterly ridiculous. rosered1
  • Score: 8

4:12pm Thu 3 Apr 14

barrie timpson says...

This lot have got to go. No money to keep Sutton pool open at 100k a year - but half a million to spruce up Parr. No money for childrens front line services - money to not only buy Ruskin drive but to build a "leisure village" on it.
"We're running on fumes" everybody gets an iphone and an ipad - I don't care if it will save in the long run (which I believe is as likely as a Reindeer bricklaying service) either the money is there or not.

The scary thing is , if you read the article , it says they only have to declare expenses over £500. I bet there's £499's left right and centre.
This lot have got to go. No money to keep Sutton pool open at 100k a year - but half a million to spruce up Parr. No money for childrens front line services - money to not only buy Ruskin drive but to build a "leisure village" on it. "We're running on fumes" everybody gets an iphone and an ipad - I don't care if it will save in the long run (which I believe is as likely as a Reindeer bricklaying service) either the money is there or not. The scary thing is , if you read the article , it says they only have to declare expenses over £500. I bet there's £499's left right and centre. barrie timpson
  • Score: 8

6:06pm Thu 3 Apr 14

keepitreel says...

WHY do they have to have APPLE products,everyone knows these are the most expensive could they not have bought cheaper versions that do the same job,i bet if they had gone to carphone wharehouse they would have got a cracking deal free tv's and games consoles galore,will we see the published league tables for candy crush printed in the STAR,but the age of some on the council the last time they had a black tablet in their hands they use chalk to write on them.
WHY do they have to have APPLE products,everyone knows these are the most expensive could they not have bought cheaper versions that do the same job,i bet if they had gone to carphone wharehouse they would have got a cracking deal free tv's and games consoles galore,will we see the published league tables for candy crush printed in the STAR,but the age of some on the council the last time they had a black tablet in their hands they use chalk to write on them. keepitreel
  • Score: 3

6:34pm Thu 3 Apr 14

Sankey says...

keepitreel wrote:
WHY do they have to have APPLE products,everyone knows these are the most expensive could they not have bought cheaper versions that do the same job,i bet if they had gone to carphone wharehouse they would have got a cracking deal free tv's and games consoles galore,will we see the published league tables for candy crush printed in the STAR,but the age of some on the council the last time they had a black tablet in their hands they use chalk to write on them.
It's public money
[quote][p][bold]keepitreel[/bold] wrote: WHY do they have to have APPLE products,everyone knows these are the most expensive could they not have bought cheaper versions that do the same job,i bet if they had gone to carphone wharehouse they would have got a cracking deal free tv's and games consoles galore,will we see the published league tables for candy crush printed in the STAR,but the age of some on the council the last time they had a black tablet in their hands they use chalk to write on them.[/p][/quote]It's public money Sankey
  • Score: 1

6:50pm Thu 3 Apr 14

jumperr says...

His the taxpayers alliance really chasing the money or is their another motive to be chummy towards St. Helens taxpayers
His the taxpayers alliance really chasing the money or is their another motive to be chummy towards St. Helens taxpayers jumperr
  • Score: 2

7:20pm Thu 3 Apr 14

Geoff911 says...

Keva68 wrote:
Ipad=£500
iPhone=£500
Total £48000
I would like to to the bill for the savings due to reduction of use in paper next year to see if it's more than £48000.But then again the Ipad 6 and IPhone 6 will be out by then so will this mean another £48000.
Surely release some figures at least to justify this spending.
It's not just that price you have the phone charges and the internet charges if as they would be of no use if they just used them on wi-fi so I guess they would have sims in them too.
[quote][p][bold]Keva68[/bold] wrote: Ipad=£500 iPhone=£500 Total £48000 I would like to to the bill for the savings due to reduction of use in paper next year to see if it's more than £48000.But then again the Ipad 6 and IPhone 6 will be out by then so will this mean another £48000. Surely release some figures at least to justify this spending.[/p][/quote]It's not just that price you have the phone charges and the internet charges if as they would be of no use if they just used them on wi-fi so I guess they would have sims in them too. Geoff911
  • Score: 1

7:31pm Thu 3 Apr 14

Keva68 says...

£48000 Should we keep Sutton pool open for 6 months or have IPads mmmmm mmmm let's have iPads:-)
£48000 Should we keep Sutton pool open for 6 months or have IPads mmmmm mmmm let's have iPads:-) Keva68
  • Score: 7

8:30pm Thu 3 Apr 14

And Justice For All says...

We shouldn't be so surprised by this news? We've known for ages that this council is backwards and couldn't give a toss about the residents of the borough. "I'm sorry we'll have to close some essential services, but never mind eh! At least our councillors wont have to carry those heavy pieces of paper to the one or two meetings they can be bothered to attend. For we all have shiny new IPADS to prat about with!!! Surely that's better than some care facilities or provisions for the mentally handicapped". The sooner this lot are booted out the better. PLEASE use your votes wisely!
We shouldn't be so surprised by this news? We've known for ages that this council is backwards and couldn't give a toss about the residents of the borough. "I'm sorry we'll have to close some essential services, but never mind eh! At least our councillors wont have to carry those heavy pieces of paper to the one or two meetings they can be bothered to attend. For we all have shiny new IPADS to prat about with!!! Surely that's better than some care facilities or provisions for the mentally handicapped". The sooner this lot are booted out the better. PLEASE use your votes wisely! And Justice For All
  • Score: 8

9:10pm Thu 3 Apr 14

Geoff911 says...

Another thing with this is that Microsoft has just started office for the iPad, but you can't just buy this now and have to rent it, yet another charge that will be added.
Another thing with this is that Microsoft has just started office for the iPad, but you can't just buy this now and have to rent it, yet another charge that will be added. Geoff911
  • Score: 6

9:17pm Thu 3 Apr 14

Keva68 says...

This is really the main point in the article I just wonder if they will or will they just hope the scrutiny goes away.

“St Helens must justify its spending to hard working families and should be able to demonstrate if and how this will save money and over what period.
This is really the main point in the article I just wonder if they will or will they just hope the scrutiny goes away. “St Helens must justify its spending to hard working families and should be able to demonstrate if and how this will save money and over what period. Keva68
  • Score: 7

9:53pm Thu 3 Apr 14

aldishopper42 says...

Don't forget, the upcoming elections presents the perfect opportunity for you all to vote this shambles of a council out of office. But no doubt many of the sheep will vote Labour back in again.
Don't forget, the upcoming elections presents the perfect opportunity for you all to vote this shambles of a council out of office. But no doubt many of the sheep will vote Labour back in again. aldishopper42
  • Score: 15

10:32pm Thu 3 Apr 14

jumperr says...

It is also some officials who seem to make the the rules to suit, and they don't even stand for election.
It is also some officials who seem to make the the rules to suit, and they don't even stand for election. jumperr
  • Score: 6

12:01am Fri 4 Apr 14

retro 1 says...

time and time again we hear that the council have no money ,people losing there jobs and then this shower get rewarded with ipads etc ,,disgracefull nothing but corrupt
time and time again we hear that the council have no money ,people losing there jobs and then this shower get rewarded with ipads etc ,,disgracefull nothing but corrupt retro 1
  • Score: 10

8:47am Fri 4 Apr 14

mikeashworth says...

it's likely to be higher cost than just purchase, as teir will likely be some sort of support contract / data usage to consider. in addition training / support, as many of the councillors are sliver surfers.

interestingly only 12 of the 48 councillors are actually using twitter, and some of them very infrequently

https://twitter.com/
mikeashworth/st-hele
ns-councillors/membe
rs
it's likely to be higher cost than just purchase, as teir will likely be some sort of support contract / data usage to consider. in addition training / support, as many of the councillors are sliver surfers. interestingly only 12 of the 48 councillors are actually using twitter, and some of them very infrequently https://twitter.com/ mikeashworth/st-hele ns-councillors/membe rs mikeashworth
  • Score: 7

8:52am Fri 4 Apr 14

mikeashworth says...

wait a few months, then do a FOI request for a list of apps installed by councillors on these devices, and also any paid apps, in app spend. lets see if they are really being used to "engage with the citizens of st helens"
wait a few months, then do a FOI request for a list of apps installed by councillors on these devices, and also any paid apps, in app spend. lets see if they are really being used to "engage with the citizens of st helens" mikeashworth
  • Score: 9

9:04am Fri 4 Apr 14

jumperr says...

They can now check why they are there !
They can now check why they are there ! jumperr
  • Score: 0

10:53am Sat 5 Apr 14

stevelunt says...

So they can fork out this money, but they won't pay for our autistic son's education based on cost, this is even after he was injured during restraint at school and then tried to cover it up
So they can fork out this money, but they won't pay for our autistic son's education based on cost, this is even after he was injured during restraint at school and then tried to cover it up stevelunt
  • Score: 2

12:23pm Sat 5 Apr 14

Sankey says...

stevelunt wrote:
So they can fork out this money, but they won't pay for our autistic son's education based on cost, this is even after he was injured during restraint at school and then tried to cover it up
And they will make as many cuts to the front line services as they can get away with in order to make a political point. Grundwald talks about nothing else but cuts, however there is always plenty money for themselves and their political posturing.

I am sorry about your son but the truth is you don't matter
[quote][p][bold]stevelunt[/bold] wrote: So they can fork out this money, but they won't pay for our autistic son's education based on cost, this is even after he was injured during restraint at school and then tried to cover it up[/p][/quote]And they will make as many cuts to the front line services as they can get away with in order to make a political point. Grundwald talks about nothing else but cuts, however there is always plenty money for themselves and their political posturing. I am sorry about your son but the truth is you don't matter Sankey
  • Score: 3

12:51pm Sat 5 Apr 14

stevelunt says...

Sankey wrote:
stevelunt wrote:
So they can fork out this money, but they won't pay for our autistic son's education based on cost, this is even after he was injured during restraint at school and then tried to cover it up
And they will make as many cuts to the front line services as they can get away with in order to make a political point. Grundwald talks about nothing else but cuts, however there is always plenty money for themselves and their political posturing.

I am sorry about your son but the truth is you don't matter
Yep, I know it only too well none of us minions matter

The services this town offers is fast becoming a joke and largely down to spending cuts or people leaving because they have had enough

NHS, CAHMS, Paedetricians, GP's all cutting back and cannot provide the services they need to, but its ok because the councillors now have ipads and iphones to compose their condescending emails to us lowlife :D
[quote][p][bold]Sankey[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]stevelunt[/bold] wrote: So they can fork out this money, but they won't pay for our autistic son's education based on cost, this is even after he was injured during restraint at school and then tried to cover it up[/p][/quote]And they will make as many cuts to the front line services as they can get away with in order to make a political point. Grundwald talks about nothing else but cuts, however there is always plenty money for themselves and their political posturing. I am sorry about your son but the truth is you don't matter[/p][/quote]Yep, I know it only too well none of us minions matter The services this town offers is fast becoming a joke and largely down to spending cuts or people leaving because they have had enough NHS, CAHMS, Paedetricians, GP's all cutting back and cannot provide the services they need to, but its ok because the councillors now have ipads and iphones to compose their condescending emails to us lowlife :D stevelunt
  • Score: 1

4:05pm Sat 5 Apr 14

barrie timpson says...

Nothing to do with cuts mate , there's 89 million pounds in the bank that they can use how they see fit. How do I know this - FOI request.

LABOUR OUT LABOUR OUT LABOUR OUT!!!
Nothing to do with cuts mate , there's 89 million pounds in the bank that they can use how they see fit. How do I know this - FOI request. LABOUR OUT LABOUR OUT LABOUR OUT!!! barrie timpson
  • Score: 6

6:01pm Sat 5 Apr 14

keepitreel says...

The council has a list of services it has to supply by law to the people of this town,there is also a list of services it doesn't have to supply but does,could the STAR or someone from the council please give us the list and how much they spend on the services they DON'T have to supply and compare this to the cuts on the front-line services,one thing they should get rid of is the keycard scheme for the jobless how can it be right for the jobless to get access to gyms golf courses etc for a pittance when we workers have to pay full rate AND we subsidise it from our tax,scrap it and give the money to a more deserving cause.
The council has a list of services it has to supply by law to the people of this town,there is also a list of services it doesn't have to supply but does,could the STAR or someone from the council please give us the list and how much they spend on the services they DON'T have to supply and compare this to the cuts on the front-line services,one thing they should get rid of is the keycard scheme for the jobless how can it be right for the jobless to get access to gyms golf courses etc for a pittance when we workers have to pay full rate AND we subsidise it from our tax,scrap it and give the money to a more deserving cause. keepitreel
  • Score: 2

9:57am Sun 6 Apr 14

mikeashworth says...

keepitreel wrote:
The council has a list of services it has to supply by law to the people of this town,there is also a list of services it doesn't have to supply but does,could the STAR or someone from the council please give us the list and how much they spend on the services they DON'T have to supply and compare this to the cuts on the front-line services,one thing they should get rid of is the keycard scheme for the jobless how can it be right for the jobless to get access to gyms golf courses etc for a pittance when we workers have to pay full rate AND we subsidise it from our tax,scrap it and give the money to a more deserving cause.
all the information you need about what council spends on each of its services is available on the website, but you do have to wade through some reports to gather it all up.

go to council website. find council meetings calendat, start looking at cabinet meeting documents.
[quote][p][bold]keepitreel[/bold] wrote: The council has a list of services it has to supply by law to the people of this town,there is also a list of services it doesn't have to supply but does,could the STAR or someone from the council please give us the list and how much they spend on the services they DON'T have to supply and compare this to the cuts on the front-line services,one thing they should get rid of is the keycard scheme for the jobless how can it be right for the jobless to get access to gyms golf courses etc for a pittance when we workers have to pay full rate AND we subsidise it from our tax,scrap it and give the money to a more deserving cause.[/p][/quote]all the information you need about what council spends on each of its services is available on the website, but you do have to wade through some reports to gather it all up. go to council website. find council meetings calendat, start looking at cabinet meeting documents. mikeashworth
  • Score: 0

3:12pm Sun 6 Apr 14

anthonywilson says...

Why haven't; the councillors bought iPads and iPhones out of the expenses they ALREADY receive? The last time I checked they get a minimum of £7000 per annum. I'm not against Councillors having the best equipment to do the job but not when many of them will already have mobiles and laptops and they get expenses to do the role in the first place. After all what is the expenses they receive actually for if they aren't in the ownership of a laptop or phone to do the job?
Why haven't; the councillors bought iPads and iPhones out of the expenses they ALREADY receive? The last time I checked they get a minimum of £7000 per annum. I'm not against Councillors having the best equipment to do the job but not when many of them will already have mobiles and laptops and they get expenses to do the role in the first place. After all what is the expenses they receive actually for if they aren't in the ownership of a laptop or phone to do the job? anthonywilson
  • Score: 5

10:03am Mon 7 Apr 14

barrie timpson says...

I notice the Rimmer story has been closed to comments. I also notice the story about the election process has also been closed to comments and removed from the news feed. You don't think this paper could have a Labour bias do you?
I notice the Rimmer story has been closed to comments. I also notice the story about the election process has also been closed to comments and removed from the news feed. You don't think this paper could have a Labour bias do you? barrie timpson
  • Score: 11

11:00am Mon 7 Apr 14

jumperr says...

I thought it would be obvious to councillors what their expenses are for,but I suppose it is better to know that they have been given them so has they can give them back?
I thought it would be obvious to councillors what their expenses are for,but I suppose it is better to know that they have been given them so has they can give them back? jumperr
  • Score: 2

11:02am Mon 7 Apr 14

jumperr says...

If Marie was not considered the person for the council leadership post,is their a different type of voting for a mp!?
If Marie was not considered the person for the council leadership post,is their a different type of voting for a mp!? jumperr
  • Score: 4

11:03am Mon 7 Apr 14

Sankey says...

barrie timpson wrote:
I notice the Rimmer story has been closed to comments. I also notice the story about the election process has also been closed to comments and removed from the news feed. You don't think this paper could have a Labour bias do you?
Noooooooo....
[quote][p][bold]barrie timpson[/bold] wrote: I notice the Rimmer story has been closed to comments. I also notice the story about the election process has also been closed to comments and removed from the news feed. You don't think this paper could have a Labour bias do you?[/p][/quote]Noooooooo.... Sankey
  • Score: 7

Comments are closed on this article.

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