Agenda and minutes

Venue: St George's Room, Elizabeth House, Dereham NR19 1EE

No. Item



To elect a Chairman.


RESOLVED that Mr J P Cowen be elected as Chairman.




To receive any apologies for absence.


Apologies for absence were received from Mr D S Myers.



Declaration of Interests

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


There were none.



Non-Members wishing to address the Meeting

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





Terms of Reference pdf icon PDF 49 KB

To note the Terms of Reference for the Panel.


Subject to amendments replacing the word ‘party’ with ‘elected’ in point one and changing activity to actively in point four, the Terms of Reference were agreed by Members.



Review of the provision of ICT equipment and facilities for Elected Members pdf icon PDF 68 KB

Report of the Director of Corporate Resources.


Rory Ringer, Breckland's new Elections and Scrutiny Manager introduced himself to Members and explained his primary role and that of Teresa Smith, Member Services Support Officer, who would be the contact for the group.


The Head of ICT explained that the purpose of the meeting was to review Members’ IT needs post-election 2011, to to flag any current issues/constraints, and to identify potential future requirements, including hardware, connectivity and applications.   His PowerPoint presentation covered the following areas:-


  • Current position
  • Future consideration
  • What’s changing (expectations and hardware/software)
  • Hardware options
  • Software training options
  • IT support
  • What’s happening elsewhere
  • Underpinning Principles
  • Next steps


Current position

The existing IT equipment was nearing the end of its useful life and needed to be replaced.


Future considerations

The replacement IT needed to meet the needs of Members and provide best value for money.


What’s changing?

Future technology needed to be able to link to partners, whether private sector, community or county/national organisations.  Councillors might want to make use of their own equipment and connectivity or, alternatively, might want to make more business and personal use of County equipment.  They might also want to access services from a range of different devices.


Residents were becoming more technology and media literate, with the use of social media tools.  Members therefore needed to be aware of that and consider ways in which to meet that need.  There were also other channels, such as DigiTv - using televisions to access services, which might be an area for consideration.


A Member asked what was happening in West Dereham regarding better community connections to broadband, and how it was progressing.  Mr Jordan was able to advise that Norfolk County Council was looking at making their current 600 node network more widely available, which should help to significantly reduce the areas of poor broadband coverage across the whole county.


With regard to District sites, the Head of ICT said that there was an opportunity to ‘piggy-back’ the County system, and make use of existing capacity if it proved cost-effective.


Hardware options

A variety of devices were available, which had been tried and tested in a number of other authorities.  Members were shown examples of three: a Netbook, a Tablet, and a Thin Client.  Their advantages and disadvantages were explained.  Decisions needed to be made on future provision which could be desktop, laptop or hand held.  There was also an option to provide Members with an allowance to procure their own equipment, although support implications would need to be considered.


Software and Training options

There were a number of applications already in use by the Council that could help Members.  These included Breckview/GIS and which could be developed to ease administration and management for Members.  There had been a recent article in the Municipal Journal about an award to Teignmouth Council for their Member’s information management system.  The Head of ICT suggested including a demonstration of that system at the next meeting.


Members were asked if they felt that the IT  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.


Next Meeting

To agree dates for future meetings.


The next meeting would be held on 14 December at 10.00 in the St. Georges Room, Elizabeth House, Dereham.