Strathfield Council in Sydney’s inner west has deployed Apple’s iPad 2 to all councillors following a unanimous vote in favour of the move.
At a cost of $5803 from the council’s $126,000 IT budget, each of the seven councillors will receive an iPad 2 to access business and council documents while on the go, take notes while talking to residents, and reduce the use of paper.
Councillor Helen McLucas pushed for the adoption of tablets and, along with the council’s general manager, had been trialling the iPad 2 for the past six months and told Computerworld Australia that the device had enabled Strathfield Council to lower their expenses, become more efficient and is overall, convenient.
“It’s cost-effective because of the size of the print material that we receive; we usually get two deliveries a week of papers so this will be a cost-saving solution for us,” she said.
“It’s also better customer service because we’re talking to residents all the time… I can have access to council websites or I follow up information and email the resident then and there so I can make sure the right information gets sent to the resident’s hand the first time I talk to them.
“So it’s a great time saver and good for customer service too.
McLucas said the iPads are for business only and were deployed just before Christmas last year during council recess so that councillors could familiarise themselves with the new device.
However, she added that some councillors will not be using the tablet and continue to use the paper system instead as “they’re more comfortable with that”.
Tablet security was a non-issue for Strathfield Council, as a majority of the documents loaded onto the iPad will already be in the published domain and no sensitive council documents are to be kept on the device.
According to the Innerwest Courier, the iPads will cost $829 per councillor and come from their office equipment allowance.
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