Nov 15 2012 by Hannah Bewley, Harrow Observer
THOUSANDS of high quality Apple devices are being bought for council staff at a cost of millions.
Brent Council is spending £5million on up to 3,000 iPads and iPhones in time for the move to the new Civic Centre next year.
The purchases come months after all 63 councillors were given iPads, but the council says it will improve productivity and enable employees to work remotely.
The deal with MobileIron means employees can use their own iOS device for council work, with software which will ensure sensitive data is protected and can track employees while in use and can be wiped remotely if lost or stolen.
Robert Oxley, campaign manager of the TaxPayers’ Alliance said: “The council needs to show how handing employees the most expensive tablets available provides value for taxpayers’ money. iPads are a premium product at a time when money is tight.
“It’s right that the council takes necessary security steps but technology procurement decisions must be evidence based and not just represent a desire to embrace one particular brand.”
Brent Council said that the new contract would be in line with current telephony spending, costing £1m each year.
Stephen Conaway, chief information officer at Brent Council, said: “Being able to deploy iPads securely has been a huge productivity boost for our staff. We had previously tried to have case workers carry laptops around with them, but that wasn’t very convenient.”
The council is already using 200 iOS devices and hundreds of Blackberry phones which will now be phased out. It also has 3,000 desk phones and 1,000 mobiles, but in the new Civic Centre desk phones will be redundant. A council spokeswoman said: “We expect to see some savings out of this, however, we have not confirmed the exact level of savings to be achieved.”