The Vale of Glamorgan Council could soon be retaining its data in "Cloud" servers anywhere aroudn the world

The Vale of Glamorgan Council could soon be retaining its data in “Cloud” servers anywhere around the world and giving free iPads or tablets to its councillors to use.

The Labour-controlled Vale of Glamorgan Council – which routinely imposes inflation-busting council-tax increases on local residents every year and has just voted to again for 2016/17  – now  wants to give free tablets or iPads to every councillor – but is worried about the potential “adverse publicity”.

The Vale Council’s ruling ‘cabinet’ is due to discuss on Monday a report from the council’s Democratic Services Department  which says “ Reference was made at the last meeting regarding the use of tablets for members and the cost of doing so and the potential for adverse publicity for spending money on these devices at a time of financial austerity.”

The Chromebook computers fire up fast and remain synchronised to Android mobile phones.

The Chromebook computers fire up fast and remain synchronised to Android mobile phones.

The report continues “However it had  been confirmed that if the tablets were used by all Members and paper copies were no longer produced, the cost of the tablets would be covered by the savings in printing costs. As a result, a number of devices were being investigated as to their suitability for use by Members, including tablets, Chromebooks and touchscreen laptops that could be used as a tablet”.

Google Chromebooks retail in Curry’s for around £850 each. There are 47 Vale councillors so the total bill would be nearly £40,000.

In November last year the Vale Council reported that it was printing  1,000,000 pages of  documents every single month and needs to save £400,000 a year. (See PDN ).

The Vale Council’s ICT department is also looking to use “Cloud” computing using Microsoft Office 365 and Google for Work by which data could be uploaded and downloaded from servers located anywhere around the world .

In this week’s meeting of the full Vale of of Glamorgan Council, councillors formally approved an inflation-busting  3.9% increase in Council Tax on  Vale residents. This is the fourth such increase the Labour-controlled authority has voted through since 2012 when it first came into power.

See PDN and

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  1. EH says:

    Err…most Chromebooks cost around £200 retail. Do The Vale need something “special”?

  2. Richar Thomas says:

    The most expensive Chromebook in Currys is only £270.

    • Mark Trounce says:

      Highest: GOOGLE Chromebook Pixel 12.85″ -£999.99

      Lowest: ACER CB3-111 11.6″ Chromebook -£179.99

  3. Kevin says:

    Well it’s the fourth council tax rise that i’ve voted against.

    I realise that books have to be balanced but the failure of the labour administration to generate new income streams using existing resources, investigate adequately possible profligate spending that should have been identified by the incomplete reshaping services exercise, the waste of £250,000 stripping out a perfectly serviceable council chamber, the acceptance of a pay rise by councillors and the failure of the leader and cabinet to fight for a fairer share of the £220 per head each year more allocated to Cardiff residents than Vale residents by the Labour run Welsh assembly precludes me from supporting any increase. ( The vote for a rise was recorded by the way if you wish to check how your local councillor voted, all labour councillors voted for the rise, Liz Burnett i recall was particularly vociferous in her speech urging a yes vote for an increase whilst being heckled by other councillors)

    On the subject in hand one thing that does horrify me to be honest is the amount of paperwork generated for councillors and committee meetings, it’s truly frightening and must cost a fortune in paper, postage and staff costs printing it, packaging it up and posting it.

    I’m sure that a picture of just one months documents generated by the council just for council and committee meetings would absolutely horrify residents.

    I do prefer reading a paper document than information from a computer / tablet but if it saves ratepayers money by reading on a tablet then surely a cost and efficiency benefit analyse should be prepared and presented to the council and the public for examination. 1,000,000 pieces of paper doesn’t mean a lot to the reader other than an indication of scale and the waste of a lot of trees.

    Pounds shillings and pence is far more relevant in my opinion.

    As has been pointed out here in the past I refuse any council funded equipment and use my own computer after the council refused my offer to pay for the laptop, printer and other equipment supplied free to councillors.

    If Tablets are to be issued then perhaps councillors could pay for them themselves out of their own wages in empathy with the increasing burden placed on council tax payers.The tablets could then be retained by the individuals concerned at the end of their term or even, as an option, resold back to the council for a suitable reduced fee and reissued at second hand prices to incoming councillors if they are still up to date and suitable for continuing in council use.

    I’d have thought that would be a win win situation.

    No cost to taxpayers

    Savings in printing, staff, administration and postage costs.

    The end of massive volumes of paper being generated and ultimately pulped.

  4. Philip Rapier says:

    Absolutely right as usual in their predictions at the moribund Vale of Glamorgan Council ..

    A Windows Phone will do much the same job as an ipad for a fraction of the cost. Less than a £100 in some cases and come with Windows 10 Free ready installed.

    . The i pad has been declining in Sales other than as a must have fashion accessory for the well to do poseur in their to attempt to appear erudite for the last 4 years.

    (I will put the statistical evidence at the end of the post and type it very slowly so it will be easier to digest)

    Microsoft have agreed to continue to “patch up” the predominant Windows XP sytem for UK Public Services Local Authority -Government Clients and the NHS on condition they install Windows 7 or above asap. So it makes no sense whatsoever to use Apple for this purpose as one objective is systems integration in real time between NHS/Local Health Boards Councils GP’S etc .

    (I admit some bias toward Microsoft and the wonderful work the Bill Gates Foundation is doing in Africa)

    Here are the stats (slowly typed for easy and faster reading ) From “Variety”- US Oct 2015

    “iPad revenue continued to slump, shrinking by 21 percent year-over-year, compared to negative growth of 22 percent a year ago. That’s despite the introduction of the iPad Pro last fall, which was supposed revive the company’s tablet sales. Altogether, Apple sold 16.1 million iPads during the holiday quarter, compared to 21.4 million a year ago, which represents a 25 percent decline in units sold. Three months ago, Apple reported less than 10 million iPad sales for the first time since 2012.”

    • Mark Trounce says:

      What is the relevance of Ipad sales figures, surely usability and cost are the determining factors here not how popular the product is!

  5. Paul Richard Lewis says:

    All this talk about Ipad versus Windows is irrelevant. What’s important here is that the council are trying to save money. If it’s true that they are printing a million copies every month of council meeting minutes, agendas, responses etc etc, then surely it will pay back very quickly whatever money is spent, on whichever system is adopted.
    The equipment purchased however, should remain the property of the council, on loan to councillors, to be returned for re-use at the end their tenure.

  6. Chromebooks are by far the more cost effective solution for the council and, as other people have said above, they cost much less than £850. My Chromebook is the best computer I’ve ever had and I use it all the time – mainly due to its 12 hour battery life, the fact I can easily hold it in one hand and has a great keyboard. It cost me £240.

    If you haven’t discovered just how good (and cheap) Chromebooks are yet then here’s a good place to start:

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