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Council Waste Highlighted at Scrutiny

October 20, 2010

It emerged at last week’s Scrutiny of the council’s ICT Strategy that enormous amounts of money are wasted on equipment due to poor procurement policies: £500,000 a year is spent, not always wisely.

An example of the expenditure includes a Dell laptop keyboard available on the High Street for £29 being purchased by RBK’s ICT Department for a staggering £80! Scrutiny Panel Chairman Cllr Howard Jones (Con) described the revelation as ‘disgraceful’ whilst Interim Head of IT Mike Fogaty admitted it was ‘alarming’ and that a specialist would be employed (at what extra cost? Ed.) so that a better process could be implemented by the end of the year. He acknowledged that the areas of contracts and procurement have been ‘poor performers’ for the department.

The Executive Member for Finance, Cllr Rolson Davies (Lib Dem) admitted that much of the equipment procured by the department was non-essential or outdated, saying ‘emails can be accessed via many mobile phones nowadays – we should therefore look at the type of technology we are buying and whether it is the most appropriate.’

Cllr Jones added ‘This is simply an unacceptable waste of the public funds. It is basic common sense to seek out the best value for money particularly in these difficult times and it is certainly our duty to do that. Better procurement could double the savings in this department to £500,000 a year and I expect the impressive new Interim Head of ICT to implement a proper process as a matter of urgency.’

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