Agenda and minutes

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No. Item


Apologies (Agenda Item 1)

To receive any apologies for absence. 




Urgent Business (Agenda Item 2)

To consider any urgent business.




Declaration of Interests (Agenda Item 3)

Members are asked at this stage to declare any interests they may have in any of the following items on the agenda. The Members’ Code of Conduct requires that declarations include the nature of the interest and whether it is a personal or prejudicial interest.


No declarations were made.



Non-Members Wishing to Address the Meeting (Agenda Item 4)

To note the names of any non-members who wish to address the meeting.


Mr P Cowen was in attendance (as Chairman of the Joint Audit & Scrutiny Panel).


ICT Options for Members (Agenda Item 5) pdf icon PDF 307 KB

Report of the Director for Corporate Resources.


The Chairman explained that the Joint Audit & Scrutiny Panel (JASP) had been set up to look into the options for replacement IT equipment for Members which would provide best value, for both Members and tax payers.


He thanked the JASP Chairman and Panel for all the work they had done.  That work would help to inform the public on the reasons why new equipment was needed and to ensure them that, in this time of economic retrenchment, the Council was looking for value for money.


Mr Cowen, Chairman of the JASP, said it had been an interesting exercise which had taken longer than expected due to the advent of Shared Services with South Holland which had delayed the process.


The equipment had to provide best value, connectivity, security and accessibility.  It had been hoped that it would be ready in time for issue to new Members following the election on 5 May.


At their last meeting on 2 March 2011 the Panel had received a report with costs and options.  Some of the information in that report had been challenged and further evidence had been requested, particularly in regard to tablets, which were known to be being trialled at other authorities.  Questions had been asked of those authorities, but no answers had been received.  However, on the traffic light evaluation system in the report, it was clear that tablets had functionality restrictions as well as being financially unviable.


Of the six options put forward, only three were considered to be appropriate:


Option 6 – Allowance

This option was considered suitable for a limited number of Members for whom a separate computer was not appropriate: some ‘twin-hatters’ (District and County Councillors) would already have suitable hardware provided by Norfolk County Council; some Members did not want two computers; some worked for organisations which supplied computers; and some did not have room for two computers in their homes.  


Options 1 – Laptop and 4 – Netbook

There had been no preference between these two options which both relied on good Broadband connection.


The Netbook was good because of its size.  If the authority was moving towards being paperless, Netbooks would be easily transportable and would not create a barrier at meetings in the way that a laptop might.  However, some documents were very substantial and contained a mix of text, tables, diagrams and graphics.  If Netbooks were the preferred option they would need the following additional items:


  • a large screen for ease of reading larger documents
  • a CD drive as some information was provided to Members on CDs
  • a full size keyboard and mouse


Other essential items were scanners and printers.  The ability to have video conferencing had also been discussed.  This would help to reduce the amount of travelling needed.


Members also took very seriously the issue of support.  It was felt that there was a lack of understanding of the way that Members worked.  Many had jobs and did most of their Council work early in the morning, later in  ...  view the full minutes text for item 34.