Tablets just the medicine for Planning Committee
(M2 PressWIRE Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) A landmark moment in Birmingham City Council's use of technology will be reached when Planning Committee members begin to officially use tablet computers to enable the electronic running of Planning Committee.
The committee is set to start a six month trial at its November 22 meeting, initially using the machines in parallel with paper copies of agendas -- before discarding with the hard copies of reports and agendas entirely in the new year.
Figures compiled for the scheme's business case show that the 21 tablets (15 for committee members, six for officers), will be paid for inside three years, thanks to the savings their use will generate.
Cllr Mike Sharpe, Chairman of the Planning Committee, said: "It would be very easy for things to stand still because they have always been done a certain way.
"But the Planning Committee is one of the main stages for council business, has a busy agenda and the printing costs of all the paperwork mean it is no longer sensible or sustainable to avoid the benefits that technology offer."
Waheed Nazir, Director of Planning and Regeneration, added: "The tablets will enable easy viewing and annotation of agendas and will provide a platform for more interactive reports in the future.
"It will also make our work more agile and efficient and is a good example of how modernisation and business transformation can be adopted to ensure that we are a smart city using new technologies.
"This gives us a great opportunity to explore whether iPads are something the rest of the council could benefit from. If this works, the savings on a council-wide basis would be a welcome boost at a time when we need to make significant reductions to our budgets, while continuing to deliver first-rate services."
Notes to editors
The initial cost of rolling out the tablet devices for the planning committee is 11,781 with support costs of 5,250 in future years.
Annual savings are projected at 10,574. Over the five year business case, the project would break even in year three, and subsequent net savings of 5,324 per year would then be achieved.
The savings come from not printing hard copies of agendas, the removal of duplicate back office paper-based systems etc
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