Birmingham plans iPad trial
City Planning Committee to start six-month tablet trial
Birmingham City Council's Planning Committee is due to start using tablet computers from 22 November 2012 as part of a six-month trial.
The committee will initially use tablets alongside paper agendas and reports, but will no longer use hard copies as of January 2013, switching to operating entirely electronically.
There will be 21 tablets (15 for committee members, six for officers) and these will eventually achieve annual savings of £10,574. According to the council, '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'.
This means that although initial cost of the devices is £11,781, with future support costs of £5,250, the tablets will pay for themselves within three years.
According to a spokesperson from the council, the Planning Committee was the most logical place to start with a tablet trial as, of all the committees, it uses the most paper. He said that the pilot was "very much a toe in the water process...if it works, there's no reason why it can't be looked at further afield".
Waheed Nazir, Birmingham City Council's Director of Planning and Regeneration, said: "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."