Decision details

Digital Strategy Funding – members ICT

Decision Maker: Cabinet member finance and corporate services

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: No

Is subject to call in?: Yes


The purpose of this report is to agree the Information Communication Technology (ICT) requirements of new and returning ward members following the local election on 2 May, 2019.   This is in line with the council’s Digital Strategy to utilise digital technology for staff and councillors to work flexibly, responsively and making the most of technology to deliver services. 


Existing members have been consulted on their current requirements and options for the future; in addition some existing members have participated in a trial of smartphone technology and the outcome of these has informed the recommendation to provide all members with a laptop and to provide all members with the option to also use a smartphone.


The 2018/19 spend from reserves will enable a new ICT package to be procured with delegated authority to the assistant director corporate services to award contract.



(a)  the following IT equipment for all  members elected in May 2019 be purchased at a cost of not more than £100k:

·         53 laptops -

·         53 smart phones be purchased on rolling two year contracts (up to a total of 4 years)


(b)  The assistant Director Corporate Support be authorised to take all operational decisions necessary to implement the above recommendation.


Alternative options considered:

1.         The purchase is not made.  This is not advisable as many of the existing laptops issued to members are four years old and no longer under warranty. 

2.         That spend takes place in 2019/20 financial year for activity to be funded from the ICT base budget.  This is not recommended as would result in a delay in activity when progress is needed this financial year.

3.         That only lap-tops are provided with no option for smartphone deployment.  This is not advised as following a trial of using smart phones with eight members there is good evidence to suggest that this technology allows members to work more effectively and efficiently on behalf of their constituents and in dealing with council business.

4.         That members purchase their own IT through an allowance.  This is not advisable as members need a certain specification to access software relating to council business.  This option has been tried in the recent past, but proved problematic in solving any faults when not standard equipment resulting in increased support costs.   In addition, the council has to meet government data security standards which could potentially be compromised if unsupported devices were purchased by members.  Additionally value for money could not be demonstrated consistently, particularly where new members were joining the council with less than a full four year term of office. Returning to this model would not present a cost effective option either as the council has already tested the market with suppliers to ensure best value for money is achieved.   Preferred suppliers have been identified and a framework agreement is in place (see 12 below). 


Wards Affected: (All Wards);


Consultation was undertaken with all 53 ward members on their ICT provision. In addition, 8 local ward members signed up to a smart phone trial. the outcome of those consultations are outlined in this report.

Contact: John Coleman, Democratic services manager Email: Tel: 01432 260382.

Publication date: 30/01/2019

Date of decision: 30/01/2019

Effective from: 06/02/2019

Accompanying Documents: