OVER the course of 2017 Gloucestershire County Council spent over £55,000 on electronic devices, in a bid to save money on paper.

A Freedom of Information request has revealed that the council also spent an additional £7,000 on tablets from January to March this year, 18 months after paying £55,000 on its first batch.

The response to the request for information revealed that Shire Hall’s permanent staff and elected officials received £56,726.53 worth of the portable personal computers.

Figures of over £80,000 have been spent in a four year period, as follows:

2015 – £6,864.92

2016 – £16,885.53

2017 – £56,726.53

2018 (up to March this year) – £7,146.35

Comparatively the council has been able to reduce spend on paper by just over seven thousand pounds over the course of last year, bringing the total bill for stationery used to £30,540 in 2017/18.

Paul Blacker, head of financial management at Gloucestershire County Council, said: “By going paperless the county council saves more than £100k a year.

“Staff no longer have to spend their resources on printing, binding and posting documents. For example, the paper reports needed for this year's annual budget meeting cost the council £70; however if paper copies were needed for all officers and members the county council would have had to spend in the region of £2,800. That is a significant saving.

“It’s not just our members that use the council’s iPads. Our staff use them in a range of ways too, including memory exercises for some of the county’s elderly people with dementia and our social workers use them to work remotely.”