Ashfield Council to spend £18k buying all new councillors a Samsung tablet

Ashfield District Council
By Andrew Topping, Local Democracy Reporter

All new councillors elected onto Ashfield District Council in May will be given a Samsung tablet to use during their work.

The Ashfield Independent-led authority has approved a delegated decision to spend £18,000 on the new technology.

Documents say council officers trialled the Samsung Galaxy S7 FE devices to ensure they could function for newly-elected members.

The tablets will be bought so the councillors can access council minutes and agendas for meetings, send emails, conduct research and make video calls.

The device features a 12-inch screen, with the authority saying this will “ensure minutes and agendas are easily read during minutes”.

They will also have a good battery life, are compatible with Microsoft Office, feature front and rear cameras and are “relatively light in weight”.

Papers say the device has been tested by the authority’s democratic services team and is the “preferred model to enable members to carry out their role”.

Other models tested included Windows laptops, Apple iPads and Chromebooks.

However, Chromebooks were not compatible with Microsoft Office, were reliant on internet access and were “heavy”.

Apple iPads were deemed to be “too expensive for large screen format”, while Windows laptops were heavy and did not offer good battery life.

The council adds that Windows laptops also required more IT restrictions for security purposes and were “more difficult for members to learn how to use”.

The authority will buy 35 tablets – one for each elected member – alongside 35 cover cases which also feature a keyboard.

The delegated decision, taken this month, approved the £18,000 purchase, which works out at £515 per councillor.

In a report, the authority said:” The devices will primarily be used for access to electronic minutes and agendas for council meetings but also research, email, and video calls.

“The benefits of the chosen device are … a 12-inch screen which ensures minutes and agendas are easily read during meetings.

“[It also has] good battery life up to 13 hours, comes with a Samsung S Pen, [is] compatible with Microsoft Office suite [and] has front and rear cameras.

“[The] screen is clear and bright, [it has a] good keyboard [and is] relatively light in weight.

“The Samsung tablet has been tested by the democratic services team and selected elected members and is the preferred model to enable members to carry out their role.”

Most authorities provide councillors with technology to carry out their roles.

The council says it has “a duty to ensure members have access to the necessary resources” to perform their duties as a councillor.

The new group of politicians will be elected onto the authority on May 4, alongside all other district and borough councils and Nottingham City Council.

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