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back to article Leicester City councillors eye up iPad to save £90k a year

A quartet of Leicester City councillors are currently trialling Apple’s iPad, and if successful the fondle slab could be issued to 50 other council members. But a council spokeswoman told The Register this morning that a report in today’s Daily Mail, which made the claims, was inaccurate. She then went on to explain that only …

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FAIL

How Many Pages

Lets assume 5p per page printed. 54 councillors. £90,000 pa printing costs.

So that's some 33,333 pages per councillor per year. My those chaps go to a lot of meetings.

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Re: How Many Pages

The print cost is more than that. You have to factor in:

The person that is printing it off,

The person that is filling the printer with toner and paper,

The person that is photocopying them,

The person that is servicing the photocopier,

The receptionist that is letting the photocopier service man in,

The security guard that is monitoring the reception,

The manager to authorise all the spending,

The quality assurance group that checks the staff are making efficiency savings,

The base cost of a printer,

Of course what they should have done was simply said they were looking at ecological concerns and moving towards a paperless office.

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What they should've done

What they should've done is given them all Scalextric if they're that desperate for toys.

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Coat

close, but...

except in all those cases (except the service person) , the person in question is still there doing the same job. You don't loose the receptionist just because they don't have to let the service person in.

The cost of the printing is more accurately reflected by, paper, ink, electricity, service contracts, and cost of device, than the people doing the printing/filling.

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Paris Hilton

Title

If they get rid of all their printers I will be monumentally surprised.

To support all those thoys they will have to bring in their own "genius".

I. Fucking. DESPAIR.

Council: DURP!

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Grenade

Slightly off beam

It is more complicated than the analysis above.

Probably the repro method is offset litho. Probably a van scurries round delivering papers twice a week.

All papers do not all go to all members. But many go to council officers, the press, local MPs, the public with a long term interest in a subject and a heap for the public at meetings.

So if they are going paperless then everyone will have to follow. Sounds like a good idea because with so much material almost all users will prefer to access a council archive than store a hundredweight and a half of paper.

They will have to print one copy of all papers for the few who demand it, and they will get photocopies. And a copy of all minutes to be signed by the chair.

The public in the gallery at meetings who won't be able to follow the arguments is a bit of a problem. They will find a solution to this.

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Anonymous Coward

Could only be 6 printers

Those 60 - 100 page per minute, staple/fold/etc printers cost ~£15k p.a. to lease.

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Alert

33K pages per councillor per year...

Probably pretty close I'd say. Many years ago my father was a councillor and he about half an inch to an inch of A4 sheets delivered per week and he was only on one committee! (he always made a point of opening the envelopes before putting them in the recycling)

Also that £90Kmight include some postage.

Not that I think that either a £90K printing bill or a load of iPads are the solution. The problem isn't how to get all the information to the councillors but how to get enough relevant information to them so they can do their jobs without being drowned in a sea of rubbish.

As it stand at the moment there is no way anyone could read everything a councillor is sent whether they're reading it on paper on an iPad.

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Big Brother

Oh dear ...

"loose" the receptionist?

You must work for the Council!

I's LOSE, loser!

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Anonymous Coward

@AC the councillor's son

I work for a council and trust me it's nothing like 33K pages per councillor per year. Most of that stuff is electronic anyway these days. This was obviously just somebody frantically trying to justify frivolous spending on iPads and printing costs was the first thing they thought of. They probably relised it was a stupid thing to say about three seconds after they said it, but it's out there now.

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Anonymous Coward

Correct.

In a recent efficiency costing drive at our authority, the printing of minutes and reports for the various evening meetings (especially planning reviews and the like) did go in to the tens of thousands.

Issuing Councillors with specific machines is a winner on a number of counts, saving cost of the printing is only part of it....

1) We can politically enforce them not sending official e-mails to private accounts as they have a work provided tool. (they are prevented from setting up automatic forwarding rules anyway)

2) We've got control over the encryption of the data on the device they are given.

3) There is no more wasting time trying to get our citrix conenctions and web based internal services working with a wide array of operating systems, browser versions and the rest of it that comes with councillors using their home machines to access the corporate network.

...and a whole host of other benefits that all add up in the end.

But if we choose a, "pad," over a laptop, then it won't be the iPad; it'll likely be something less restrictive and allows us more control.

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Go

Seems resonable

Other people have pointed out that your cost estimation is probably low; but even if it isn't... The number sounds ballpark right. I can imagine that each of these councilors is printing out at least one new report or draft of the same report from yesterday, every single day. It would only take a 100 page report a day to roughly hit your estimate.

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FAIL

Sounds strangely familiar

I suppose one way local government could save a lot of money would be to refuse to handle the endless requests for information from the Taxpayers Alliance. It never seems to do anything useful, just issue press releases full of mock outrage that newspapers use as cheap filler. It would be interesting so see how many requests councils receive from them and how much they cost.

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council tax..

Glad my council tax of over £1200 is going on something useful. I'd hate that the money would be spent clearing up the dump that is Leicester City Centre, such as the urine content of my stairwell...

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a

What you do in your own stairwell is no one else's business but your own ;)

Seriously though I know what you mean - there are plenty areas in our city that could REALLY do with improving, anywhere near Frog Island for a start and maybe use the cash to paint that godawful blue tower. At least they are filling in the (scum shelter) underpass to the train station though so it's not all bad.

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FAIL

Printing

Please do not print this comment unless absolutely necessary.

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Anonymous Coward

Funny that

.....a techie type person manipluates figures to get iPad into the organisation. You know why, dont you?

What? The technology doesnt exist to perform these functions already?

Not much of a techie type then.

More manipulative than techie.

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FAIL

Well...

Having worked in and for a number of local governments, both as staff and expensive consultant, I know that most councillors will struggle to find the on switch.

and the day that they give up having everything printed on paper is the day satan goes to work on a toboggan...

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Anonymous Coward

Sledging

Yep. PA will print it out, photocopy it 3 times, file 1 copy, scan 1 back in to a document management system, give 1 to the councillor and give the same councillor the final copy once the previous one has been lost (<20 mins).

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Gold badge
Alert

Replacing costly printing.

According to Conservative group leader Ross Grant: "I've asked for council agendas to be e-mailed as PDF files to the iPad so I no longer need printed documents."

Yeah, 'cos you can't do that on a cheap netbook.

Actually, thinking about it, given the iPad and the cheap netbook, which of these devices stands a chance of suddenly, unexpectedly and irrevocably losing its PDF compatibility* in a fit of "giving the shaft to Adobe" from its real owners?

*Yes I know it's bloody unlikely, bordering on scaremongering, but the fact that it's possible at all should ring alarm bells if you're moving to an "everything in PDF" way of doing things.

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Silver badge

But PDF isn't like Flash

It's widely implemented by people other than Adobe, including on the Mac and iPad where Apple wrote and hence have complete control over the PDF viewer. Apple aren't anti-Adobe per se, they're merely anti-Adobe (or anyone else) having a toe in the software or developer tool stack. At a guess, the calculation was that Flash was already sufficiently disliked that it was a better idea to go on the attack than to end up in a situation like they have with Carbon on the desktop where they end up supporting an obsolete technology for a decade for the benefit of third parties.

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Yeah, 'cos you can't do that on a cheap netbook.

As a reading device, a cheap netbook isn't a patch on an iPad.

I've said elsewhere that the iPad has a number of flaws, but as a consumption device - including for reading PDFs - it is worth considering.

I'm not sure about their calculation of potential savings, but it would certainly provide councillors with benefits through allowing them to carry a large volume of papers in a lightweight form factor.

The poor options for annotations are, however, going to be a big problem. Who doesn't go to a meeting with scribblings all over the agenda and mark up the important parts of other papers as the meeting progresses.

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Gold badge
Happy

Update:

I retract that footnote.

Elsewhere here: "The iOS 4 drive-by jailbreak released over the weekend uses a PDF exploit to weave its magic....."

Can't be long now. Just waiting for the Jobsian announcement.......

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FAIL

When I was a councillor..

When I was a councillor (a little while ago) they gave us all a PC.. I guess these days most councillors are issued a laptop so they can do their work (email, casework and correspondence and for the more stupid ones, porn surfing).

So.. presumably they have a laptop already.. why not bring those to meetings?

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Silver badge

Er

Can you even *do* email on an iPad? It was my understanding that they were great for reading stuff, not so great for making it. No doubt I am mis-informed.

I guess they could also recall all the laptops and sell them off , assuming Leicester doesn't do what my lot do and keep all such technology in a warehouse while they "assess" who should get it until it's obsolete and therefore worthless. I was issued a laptop running NT4 SP1 on a Pentium 1 two years after XP had become the de facto standard in the office, around 2002 or so. I would like to tell you how it performed but the battery couldn't power it through a complete boot so it sat in a drawer and is probably still there today - I'm not, thank Azathoth.

As for paperless offices, well, wait until it dawns on people that they must maintain the infrastructure to keep it in operation. After that math is done, and a couple of accidents have shelved business for the day, the slide back into paper-full offices is inevitable.

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For a technology site...

...you guys sure are sniffy whenever anyone tries to make use of technology!

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Anonymous Coward

Hardly sniffy....

Just informative. I'd be hopping bloody mad if my council (NSDC) went down this path. This is a 'rights' based approach. ie It is my "right" to have a PC/laptop/iPhone/iPad/all expences junket if my peers and subordinates have one. If it can be justified on an 'as needed' basis and passes a 'proper' CBA then by all means make use of technology but don't just supply for the sake of 'technology', please.

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Savings?

Couldn't they just fire another 50 people and make do with paper?

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Unhappy

£90K saving easy!

Just sack any one of the councilor!

to save more ,just repeat the above step

my moto is

Upad = I sack

Apple not included

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Coat

Councillors don't get paid a salary.

They can only get reimbursed expenses....

...mine is the one with the iPhone MAXI in the pocket.

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Anonymous Coward

Toys for the big knobs

During my previous contract, the organisation had an activity to procure handheld devices to assist with out-of-hours support calls, where individuals would be able to access specific secure servers and applications to help resolve calls without attending site. There were about 10 major requirements which pointed to a particular group of devices (mainly because they could run some code already in use on desktops)

As this was under way, a bunch of managers (from other divisions) felt left out whilst visiting conferences and external meetings because they did not have Blackberries. When they returned, the entire procurement was redirected to buy Blackberries, despite these not fulfilling a single one of the ten major requirements. The IT folk have since been trying to hack everything such that the 150 Blackberries will actually fulfil their intended role with only limited success. But the big knobs have their free toys and the issues about why call-out payments are still as high as ever has yet to be discovered by the annual audit.

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Rubbish...

I send my manager a PDF document...all he has to do is read it and replay saying "yep, it's ok"... but what he actually does is print out the PDF.

Mind, you, he did push paper recycling...but we didn't use as much paper before he came along

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Stop

Everyone's at it!

I work for a large, unpopular organisation with a logo that looks a little like a puckered anus. Can you guess who?

...Anyway there was great hilarity on a departmental tele-conference the other week when one of our staff took the head of department to task on why the executives were being issued with iPads. The stuttered justification that came back was it was being trialled as a 'video-conferencing tool'.

Yeah, my company logo it is!

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FAIL

Its the only way forward

because quite clearly a garden variety laptop or netbook couldn't do exactly what is being asked here nor even Amazons £100 kindle.

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Bronze badge

Techie career prospects improve

Helps the CV but ridicules the organisation.

Only a small disaster this time though.

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hmmm

Well, I live in leicester and from where I am now I'm only a stones throw from the city offices.

Cutting down needless printing is a great idea but the real financial problem the city council has in leicester is the main council building is unfit for use near abouts. In fact it's got to the point where it would either cost them hundreds of thousands just to make the building safe and sound without any real improvements or xx millions to build a new one. A couple of iPads isn't really a big deal when you put it into perspective.

As for FAIL! posts - come on guys, do you really think hundreds of thousands of sheets of dormant paper is a good idea? You factor in all the costs of printing which includes the paper, the ink, the machines, the service costs of large printers and the re-prints because the documents have been updated (not to mention repair bills for large network printers which can cost thousands) and you begin to see why any way to reduce the tidal wave of paper in local councils would be a good idea.

Sour grapes or just jealousy? Maybe all the techies on this post are just luddites....who knows eh!

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Happy

"I'm only a stones throw from the city offices."

And you know this how?

I'm sure they've got you dead to rights on CCTV!

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FAIL

Bah!

Oh give me a break! Do you seriously think that a few dozen iPads is going to lead the charge to a paperless council?

How on earth do you think a council does business with the electorate, none of whom should be expected to shell out for iPads just so they can read a rate demand? I'll give you a hint: it involves pulping dead trees.

If the council truly needs an electronic portable e-reader for the reasons it states, perhaps a look at the much less expensive and far more readable Kindle type devices would be in order? Paper savings AND iPad savings (as in: I just saved about 500 quid per iCouncilor in addition to the 90k techiequids saved).

I think if we look hard enough, what we are going to find is a techie who wants an iPad but can't afford one. Sort of he reverse of the "daft boss tech decision" tales that litter these comments.

But I'd settle for seeing his/her spreadsheet and having people here comment on the assumptions he (or she) made.

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If they do..

I will put money on them NOT getting rid of the printers... and NOT being banned from bringing papers to meetings and NOT actually saving anything.

in fact wasn't this the very same argument for everyone getting a free laptop?

Boo! down with this sort of thing.

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P45s for some, toys for the elite

That £90k saving sounds like complete shite to me.

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FAIL

Laptop or iPad

Ummm, maybe a laptop would do the same job, for lower price, and added into that they could replace the desktops with docking stations and save even more cash...

Or maybe this is just an IT engineers idea to score himself a free iPad "for testing" that has back-fired!

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Laptop or iPad

They will certainly want to see a whole A4 page. There is a lot of geography in council business, most presented A4 portrait.

An iPad is so much easier to access. Committees can be crowded round a table.

And an iPad is not expensive.

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If this really is the reason

Then why not get them something like a document or ebook reader, rather than a general purpose multimedia device like the ipad.

It'll save even more money, not spending 25 grand+ on ipads, that the councillors will likely get to keep when they move on. Nevermind the lost "productivity" from when they forget to charge them overnight.

My bet is that even with an ipad, they'll still print documents out. I'm a software professional, who owns an ebook reader, and i still prefer to print things out and scribble on them, councillors have no chance!

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FAIL

How big a saving?

If they think they can save 90 grand a year on printing, how much are they printing? I mean that's a "saving" which presumably includes the cost of the iPads as well as a guesstimate figure on how much they'll still print. Still all sounds like horseshit to me. I don't there can be anything more galling than buying lifestyle gadgets with public money whilst laying off staff and cutting services. How about just educating these idiots to stop clicking "print" as often?

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Anonymous Coward

Onsite Leicester City BOFH thinking...

He fancies new pad, but doesn't want to pay for it. So what does he do?

- Creates plausible IT business case for using ipads in "customer-centric, win-win, vertical market application paradigm <insert more buzzwords here>"

- Inserts barely plausible cost saving scenario

- Exec's see the ££££ and glaze over, approving his "trial sample"

- Trial sample is ordered and paid for

- "Trial" is "performed", and surprise surprise, the cost benefit is far less than thought

- Project is canned, costs written off and "Trial sample" stays in IT department. Or his house

I have never, ever done this myself to obtain the fanciest shiny IT toy. Never. Oh no.

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Central Govt

Quite simple, make councils raise all their taxes locally. Then we can vote locally to get rid of the idiots. The country is borrowing 160bn a year and these dicks are buying ipads!

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PTR
WTF?

Hmmmmmmm

If they can save £90k by using iPads, imagine how much they can save by using netbooks, which are half the price.

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Flame

Who'd have thought it?

"But a council spokeswoman told The Register this morning that a report in today’s Daily Mail, which made the claims, was inaccurate."

Well who'd have thought it?

The Daily Mail printing made-up shite.

Again.

Anyone surprised?

Anyone?

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How this happened...?

Councillor 1: Hey Dave, have you seen those new iPads, I want one, when is my Council laptop due for replacement? I can't get one on expenses these days, it's too controversial.

Dave from IT: Yes I've seen them, but they aren't really useful for anything. You'll get a new Dell or HP same as everyone else in 2012.

Councillor 1: But I can't carry that to meetings, it's too heavy for me when I have to shift this fat belly and thighs like a truck, couldn't we work this in as a replacement for meeting notes?

Dave: *sigh*

Council Boss: Yeah I want one too. Dave order 4, we'll "trial" them with my best mates.

Dave: But....

Council Boss: I'll sign off on a new workstation for your team.

Dave: OK, whatever...

Councillors: YAY! Free iPad.

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Troll

glue and lots of it

You really have to wonder what brand of glue they are sniffing sometimes. iPads is not their first spending spree...

£500k Leicester's big screen... a big 18ft LED monitor down one of the more open streets that carries no content or usable seating, and costs £45k a year to run.

£1m chewing gun clean up for the Queen's visit.

£19m on re-paving the city centre (after cleaning the gum) then destroying all business with....

££££ on highcross/shires shopping centre, making all the traditional shop streets go bust

Really, lots of glue and a special brand at that.

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