Surrey County Council get the latest toy

June 10, 2011 5:56 PM

It's great to see councils trying to find ways of working more efficiently. Technology absolutely has a role to play, with laptops and mobile phones (both now can be bought relatively cheaply) meaning staff aren't tied to their desks and can do more work on the go. But sometimes I get the sneaking suspicion that councils are trying something new out because it's the latest toy, not because it's actually going to be more efficient than what they've already got.

Surrey County Council has perfectly demonstrated this approach with a video recently posted on their You Tube page. It features a demonstration of an app developed for the new BlackBerry® PlayBook™ tablet. The council's own website proudly announces that this tablet has yet to even be launched in the UK yet social workers are trialling this new technology for two months.

Surrey County Council Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Health, Michael Gosling, hopes that this new app will "help save time and money by reducing the burden of paperwork, allowing social workers to focus on caring for the elderly."

A noble ambition indeed, but do they really need Blackberry Playbooks and apps to reduce paperwork? Never mind the fact that the tablets have been slated as rubbish with a battery life so short staff will be popping back to the office to charge it up, they are going to cost a small fortune. Councils should embrace new ideas and should looks at ways of improving care for the elderly and providing better services, but they must be wary of the temptation to throw money at the latest gadget as a means to achieving this. We don't know whether Surrey CC has any Playbooks or plans to buy any, and there is probably no cost for this trial, but taxpayers should consider firing a warning shot across the council's bow now if they think this trial could be paving the way for extravagant spending.  We've said it before on this blog, councils shouldn't spend taxpayers' money on frivolous nonsense just to make themselves appear innovative and revolutionary.

All that aside I should mention the reason that this came to my attention is because I encountered their You Tube channel. Aside from the danger that they're about to splurge (or have already splurged) huge sums of money on tablet devices, someone at Surrey CC took the time to film a video about this ground-breaking (ahem) news and upload it to web. Seriously fellas, you have too much time on your hands.It's great to see councils trying to find ways of working more efficiently. Technology absolutely has a role to play, with laptops and mobile phones (both now can be bought relatively cheaply) meaning staff aren't tied to their desks and can do more work on the go. But sometimes I get the sneaking suspicion that councils are trying something new out because it's the latest toy, not because it's actually going to be more efficient than what they've already got.

Surrey County Council has perfectly demonstrated this approach with a video recently posted on their You Tube page. It features a demonstration of an app developed for the new BlackBerry® PlayBook™ tablet. The council's own website proudly announces that this tablet has yet to even be launched in the UK yet social workers are trialling this new technology for two months.

Surrey County Council Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Health, Michael Gosling, hopes that this new app will "help save time and money by reducing the burden of paperwork, allowing social workers to focus on caring for the elderly."

A noble ambition indeed, but do they really need Blackberry Playbooks and apps to reduce paperwork? Never mind the fact that the tablets have been slated as rubbish with a battery life so short staff will be popping back to the office to charge it up, they are going to cost a small fortune. Councils should embrace new ideas and should looks at ways of improving care for the elderly and providing better services, but they must be wary of the temptation to throw money at the latest gadget as a means to achieving this. We don't know whether Surrey CC has any Playbooks or plans to buy any, and there is probably no cost for this trial, but taxpayers should consider firing a warning shot across the council's bow now if they think this trial could be paving the way for extravagant spending.  We've said it before on this blog, councils shouldn't spend taxpayers' money on frivolous nonsense just to make themselves appear innovative and revolutionary.

All that aside I should mention the reason that this came to my attention is because I encountered their You Tube channel. Aside from the danger that they're about to splurge (or have already splurged) huge sums of money on tablet devices, someone at Surrey CC took the time to film a video about this ground-breaking (ahem) news and upload it to web. Seriously fellas, you have too much time on your hands.

Latest Blogs:

TaxPayers' Alliance Icon

The sugar tax and the public finances

6:00 AM 05, Dec 2016 Harry Fairhead

TaxPayers' Alliance Icon

Working for the taxman

6:00 AM 26, Nov 2016 Harry Fairhead

TaxPayers' Alliance Icon

Further thoughts on the Autumn Statement

4:56 PM 24, Nov 2016 James Price

TaxPayers' Alliance Icon

Have we had too much austerity?

10:57 AM 23, Nov 2016 Alex Wild