Issue - meetings
Member IT support
For the committee to consider proposals for
enhanced Member IT provision.
(a) That the Committee approves the provision of a council laptop to each Member who requires one following a survey being undertake to determine Members’ requirements;
(b) That the Committee approves the introduction of a broadband allowance of up to £30 per month to each Member of the Council who requires it, in line with the recommendation of the Independent Remuneration Panel for Wales; and
(c) That the Committee recognises that any Member is free not to accept either offer of a laptop or Broadband allowance.
The Chief Officer (Governance) introduced a report to consider the proposals for enhanced Member IT provision. He provided background information and explained that the Authority’s current IT provision for Members, based on providing iPads, was not adequate to meet all the IT requirements of Members for full participation at remote meetings. To alleviate these concerns and enable Members who are currently without their own IT equipment the Authority had investigated the provision of laptops to Members. The cost would be offset against the increasing costs of printing and postage for agendas. Members would be able to refuse such provision.
The Chief Officer advised that the Independent remuneration Panel for Wales (IRPW), determinations 9 and 10, on Member support, included Councils making provision for their members to have ‘adequate telephone, email and internet facilities giving electronic access to appropriate information’ being made, without cost to the individual member. For this reason, the Committee was asked to consider offering Members a ‘broadband allowance’ of up to £30 per month. The Chief Officer explained that in acknowledgement that there was also a number of Members who, despite having the maximum broadband provision in their area, do not get sufficient bandwidth and experience connectivity problems, a Mi-Fi device would be provided. The cost of the Mi-Fi would be offset against a Member’s £30 broadband allowance. Individual Members would be able to decline the offers if they were satisfied with their current provision.
During discussion the Chief Officer responded to the comments and queries raised by Members around technical matters relating to security, capacity, and configuration, concerning the proposed new laptops and the upgrade of any personal IT equipment used by Members. Councillor Mike Peers suggested that a detailed survey of all Members be undertaken to determine what IT equipment was actually required by individuals and the suitability of personal equipment used. He said this would potentially reduce the cost to the Authority of providing equipment which was not required. The Chief Officer explained that if the Committee decided to agree the recommendations in the report officers would consult with Members on the number of options available to ensure that their IT requirements were met and resolve any problems they have encountered.
The following recommendation was moved by Councillor Chris Bithell and seconded by Councillor Ted Palmer.
- That the Committee approves the provision of a council laptop to each Member who requires one.
Councillor Mike Peers proposed that the recommendation be amended to include a requirement that a detailed survey of Members’ be undertaken to determine the need for individual equipment and this was agreed by the Committee.
The following recommendation was moved by Councillor Chris Bithell and seconded by Councillor Arnold Woolley.
- That the Committee approves the introduction of broadband allowance of up to £30 per month to each Member of the Council who requires it.
Councillors Chris Bithell and Mike Peers proposed that the recommendation be amended to include reference to the IRPWs recommendation. This was agreed by the Committee.