Shropshire Star

Shropshire Council spend £361,800 on iPads in four years

Council chiefs have spent more than £350,000 on new iPads for officers and councillors over the past four years, new figures revealed today.


Shropshire Council paid out £361,800 on 650 iPads and tablet computers between April 2009 and May 2013 – equivalent to £557 per electronic device.

The council said today its stationery and printing budget was reduced by more than £20,000 in 2012/13, most of which was down to councillors using iPads to access reports.

A Freedom of Information request shows that 63 out of the 75 elected councillors in Shropshire now use iPads, with the rest being used by officers.

Figures show 49 people have been given iPads on top of electronic devices such as laptops, mobile phones and Blackberries. And the monthly cost to Shropshire Council for iPad 3G data is £4,062.50, meaning the bill is £48,750 annually.

Council bosses defended its decision to rollout iPad usage and said "sound business cases" were required by each person and that it improved "productivity" and saved money on printing and administration.

Newly-elected Sundorne councillor, Kevin Pardy, said it allowed him to respond to requests from residents and council officers at any time of the day.

"Before I became a councillor, I thought the iPad was a luxury for councillors but I now realise it is a necessity and at a time when I and my constituents need instant information it is a must," he added.

But campaigners have criticised the spending which has come to light just days after the council announced up to 1,700 jobs face the axe as part of new measures to cut a further £80 million from the budget.

Disability campaigner Nicky Clark, who launched the Shropshire cares campaign in 2010, said: "They can do exactly the same functions on their existing Smartphone's and Blackberries as they can do on iPads.

"These people are gadget crazy bureaucrats who are deciding how the rest of us should live our lives.

"They're plundering services which are a lifeline to people and yet spend money on things like this."

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