The cost of mobile phones

November 19, 2010 5:53 PM

A big thank you to supporters who have got in touch with me highlighting waste in their local areas. Many are researching this waste, and getting accurate figures from their local authority as a result.

An eagle-eyed supporter in Surrey has spotted how much taxpayers have to fork out for mobile phones. The following is from Surrey County Council's audit reports of May 2010:
There are currently in excess of 5,000 mobile phones and Blackberrys allocated to staff across the County, with a total monthly bill on average in excess of £60,000 for calls. The contract for mobile phones is currently with Cable and Wireless, who subcontract it to Orange.

This means the annual bill just for calls is over £700K! The report then goes on to say:
There is a lack of a co-ordinated and unified approachin the following areas:

a) No policy in place on the responsibilities of managers and users or protocol with Orange where excessive use is identified

b) It is unclear who has responsibility for monitoring the usage of mobile phones and Blackberrys

c) It is unclear who is responsible for the maintenance and production of an up to date inventory of devices allocated to users.

d) There is a lack of awareness of budgetary information which prevents budget holders undertaking monitoring of expenditure and resulting in some excessive/unusual patterns of usage.

e) A business case has not been made for access to premium rate numbers, international roaming and international calls for the majority of users with this facility.

Initially it was thought that the contract had expired and was in the process of re-tender but a Deed of Variation was in place for the contract. A review of the provision showed the contract was not providing best value and so the contract is being reviewed.

Thank goodness it is being reviewed, although - as yet  - we do not know the results of the review. This is a flagrant misuse of our money that needs to be stopped, and this damning report should make councils elsewhere take note.

How much do mobile phones cost you in your council? Why not send a Freedom of Information Request and find out?A big thank you to supporters who have got in touch with me highlighting waste in their local areas. Many are researching this waste, and getting accurate figures from their local authority as a result.

An eagle-eyed supporter in Surrey has spotted how much taxpayers have to fork out for mobile phones. The following is from Surrey County Council's audit reports of May 2010:
There are currently in excess of 5,000 mobile phones and Blackberrys allocated to staff across the County, with a total monthly bill on average in excess of £60,000 for calls. The contract for mobile phones is currently with Cable and Wireless, who subcontract it to Orange.

This means the annual bill just for calls is over £700K! The report then goes on to say:
There is a lack of a co-ordinated and unified approachin the following areas:

a) No policy in place on the responsibilities of managers and users or protocol with Orange where excessive use is identified

b) It is unclear who has responsibility for monitoring the usage of mobile phones and Blackberrys

c) It is unclear who is responsible for the maintenance and production of an up to date inventory of devices allocated to users.

d) There is a lack of awareness of budgetary information which prevents budget holders undertaking monitoring of expenditure and resulting in some excessive/unusual patterns of usage.

e) A business case has not been made for access to premium rate numbers, international roaming and international calls for the majority of users with this facility.

Initially it was thought that the contract had expired and was in the process of re-tender but a Deed of Variation was in place for the contract. A review of the provision showed the contract was not providing best value and so the contract is being reviewed.

Thank goodness it is being reviewed, although - as yet  - we do not know the results of the review. This is a flagrant misuse of our money that needs to be stopped, and this damning report should make councils elsewhere take note.

How much do mobile phones cost you in your council? Why not send a Freedom of Information Request and find out?

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