Councils spent more than half a million on gadgets and smartphones for staff

North East and North Yorkshire Councils spent over a whopping £600,000 on computer tablets and smartphones and it is suggested that this figure could be higher

by Natalie Glanvill on 6 November 2012 10:54


Local authorities in the North East and North Yorkshire have spent over £600,000 on gadgets and smartphones for employees, a Freedom of Information (FoI) request reveals.

The data which was revealed by The Northern Echo shows that cash-strapped councils have given staff more than 2,100 phones and more than 160 council officials in the region have been given iPads or other tablet computers for work-based purposes.

Durham County council’s expenditure on smartphones accounted for more than a half of the total expenditure revealed. The county provided over 900 handsets (911) to employees and 110 out of 126 councillors received a smartphone incurring a total cost £339,562.

In response to the Echo’s revelation, Durham council said, “For many officers, especially those who may be called for out-of-hours work, such as emergency services, social workers and other first response professionals, such as streetscene, planners and highway services, the smartphones are an essential and vital part of our communications system”.

Scarborough council spent just under £55,000 (£54,132) on iPads and tablets which were supplied to 50 employees and 28 councillors.

Graphic: The Northern Echo

At a time of austerity when overall spending per household is down, it is unjustifiable for councils to spend more than half a million on technology gadgets for public sector workers.  

Is it suggested by the regional newspaper that the actual spending cost on phones and technology could exceed the £600,000 figure as some councils failed to respond to the FoI in the statutory 28 days, while others argued it would not be possible to respond to the request within the cost threshold.

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