Agenda and minutes

Venue: St Georges Room, Elizabeth House, Dereham, NR19 1EE

No. Item


Minutes pdf icon PDF 74 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the meeting held on 24 November 2010.


The Minutes of the meeting dated 24 November, 2010 were confirmed as a correct record by the Chairman; however it was noted that not all Members had received a copy, they were therefore given copies and would read them later.






To receive apologies for absence.


Apologies had been received from Councillor Claire Bowes as she would be arriving late.


Declaration of Interest

Members are asked at this stage to declare any interests that 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.


There were none.


Non-Members wishing to address the meeting

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


There were none.



To recap on the outcomes from the previous Panel meeting.


The Head of ICT recapped on the outcomes from the Panel meeting held on 24 November.  His PowerPoint presentation and slides covered the areas below and included some ICT comments received by Members :-


·        Connectivity

·        Equipment Software

·        Software Feedback

·        Citrix

·        Training

·        Support

·        Next Steps




Accepted that broadband speed across rural Norfolk needed to be improved although acknowledged that this was out of the scope or influence of the panel.  There were some connectivity and usability issues raised regarding Citrix, although an independent review would be done shortly with a report to Members and Officers.


Equipment Software


Whilst fax use had reduced and would reduce further, it was felt there was still a need for these.  One Member had quite a lot of constituents who used faxes, whereas another had not missed the ability of sending or receiving them.  The Head of ICT explained about fax gateway services, allowing faxes to be sent and received as emails.


Non Executive Members were not provided with Breckland mobile phones or Blackberrys, Member opinion on the latter was that they could not replace laptops, and that easy access to read screens both in the Committee rooms and at home was required.


There was support for iPads from the Joint Chief Executive and interest shown by the Leader of Breckland Council, provided that there was a strong business case to consider/adopt these devices.  Head of ICT referenced that Leicester City Council had based their decision to pilot iPads on savings in paper and postage.


It was recognised however that access to large screens would be necessary, especially with committees that relied on large scale drawings.  The Chairman gave the example of the Moving Thetford Forward document and Appendices, half of which were plans, diagrams and spread sheets in landscape format, which caused problems as Citrix could not switch view from portrait, and Members needed the ability to reformat Agendas and associated paperwork circulated to them.  He added that there was a big issue with regard to legibility and formatting.  The Head of ICT said that this may be a limitation of the PDF formatting, and that he would look into alternative solutions.


It was essential that it was ascertained what the future requirements of Members would be to ensure suitable equipment.


Councillor Claire Bowes joined the meeting.


Software Feedback


The Chairman advised he had encountered difficulty when opening a link within and had not been able to access some political documents.  This was due to the site being ‘unclassified’ as regards web content filtering, and had now been resolved.


One Member had been waiting months for external links to be sorted.  The Head of ICT would look into this and encouraged Members to contact Andrew or Helpdesk to log these.


One of the options to the current software model was use of ‘cloud’ based applications such as Googleapps.  This could provide access to a range of MS Office type applications, however was reliant on an internet connection to function.


Whilst the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 12.


Feedback from Members

To review comments received by Members from their colleagues.


Comments received by Members from their colleagues had been listed and presented to the Panel, they covered the areas listed below, all of which were covered in the Head of IT’s presentation summary at Agenda Item 5 :-


  • IT Support/training
  • Equipment
  • Citrix
  • General




Demonstration of Award Winning Democratic Services System

To receive a presentation on Teignbridge District Council’s bespoke, in-house application, which won the Excellence in Democratic Services Award at the 2010 MJ Achievement Awards.


The presentation on Teignbridge District Council’s bespoke, in house application, which won the Excellence in Democratic Services Award at the 2010 MJ Achievement Awards did not take place due to the way that Teignmouth had set their PCs up, which did not suit a remote demonstration at this stage.


Digital Pen Technology

To receive an overview of an alternative means of capturing the written word electronically.


Digital Pen Technology


An overview and video of this alternative means of capturing the written word electronically was given.  Two types of digital pens were shown, they cost on average £120 - £130 each and stored data which could be either sent via blue toothed or linked to a PC and converted to text. 


They were felt to be a luxury item rather than a requirement, and initially they had been looked at for the benefit of remote working for officers.  They might be useful for annotating agendas, and could benefit Councillors.  One Member felt that minute takers should not be writing notes and then typing them, and that digital pens should be considered for the Member Services Team.


As well as the above, video demonstrations on the following took place :-


Apple iPad


Average cost was £600 for 32 GB.  A print server device or wireless printer would be required for printing.


It was believed MPs used Blackberrys and/or laptops, and most business people used ipads in conjunction with a PC. 


As a piece of hardware, the ipad was believed to have limitations, one being a keyboard.  If Citrix was used it was questioned whether the iPad would work without a laptop, the Head of ICT confirmed that it would.  The Chairman said that during the trial, the iPad should be used as if it was a laptop with an external keyboard for data entry.


Whilst Mr Jordan could see these would be useful if paperless, he was unsure how they could replace a computer, as there was still a hardware need.  As a “twin-hatter” he would be happy to trial these, and would use them and nothing else, enabling a true evaluation to be provided along with the identification of its limitations.


Keyboard doc


Average cost of keyboard and case was £47.99.  If a lot of typing was required, they could be plugged into an ipad.


Leicester City Council


The Panel were advised of what the Council were doing, and Breckland were keeping an eye on how their cost model worked and how the devices were justified.


Final Report Requirements

To agree the structure and format of the final report, clarifying key points and recommendations.


It was RESOLVED that :-


1.                  An interim report ready for the next meeting would be produced leading to a final report


2.                  Trial ipads January 2011 to reflect the needs of different levels of elected Members


3.                  Those invited to undertake the trial would be suggested as , Councillors C R Jordan, C Bowes and S Matthews with the Executive Members represented by either William Nunn or Paul Claussen


4.                  Final report ready for Cabinet on 22 February 2011


5.                  Recommendation to Council for decision on  10 March 2011


Date of Next Meeting


The next meeting would be held on Tuesday 1 February, 2011 at 10.30 a.m in the St. George’s Room, Elizabeth House, Dereham.