By Democrat reporter
It seems those who predicted that people would soon be replaced by computers and other information technology were not far off the mark so far as West Dunbartonshire Council is concerned.
The Council which has been steadily jettisoning staff for years is spending £1.8 million in Information Technology to support and maintain their existing IT systems and services.
They say this annual investment will maintain the Council’s current digital offer, ensuring that residents can continue to access all online services quickly and easily, in a secure manner and follows a significant increase in the number of residents accessing services digitally during the pandemic.
The spend also includes corporate licenses for Adobe and Microsoft, security technologies for scanning, protection and encryption, as well as device, application and policy management technologies.
Additional investment of over £800,000 will facilitate the review all technology hardware, which includes servers, switches, wireless access points, security infrastructure, cabling, telephone infrastructure, storage and multi function printers and scanners.
In addition, the Council will invest £357,000 in replacing IT devices, a further £100,000 in renewing Chromebook provision and £50,000 to increase network bandwidth at some school and office locations whilst the Council is continuing to support the education of children and young people with Remote Learning.
The Council reviews the annual maintenance and licence payments regularly to ensure they represent best value and accurately represent the needs of the Council.
The investment was agreed by elected members following discussion of a report brought to the Council’s Corporate Services Committee this week.
Councillor Ian Dickson, Convener of Corporate Services, said: “The Council is committed to providing our residents with easy access to all of the services offered. At the moment, the main access to these services is via virtual meetings, telephony and our website , and so it’s pleasing that we are investing this money to enhance our technology to create conditions that will further support our citizens. It is important that our services are reliable, secure, cost effective and offer confidence to everyone who uses them.
He added: “We must continually look at old, ageing and end of life technology and ensure we review and renew equipment and licences that are essential to continuing services and supporting our citizens and our employees.”
Councillor Iain McLaren, Vice Convener of Corporate Services, said: “The pandemic has changed the way many of our citizens interact with the Council. It is vital that we have robust contracts and IT infrastructure in place to deliver first-class services to our residents. These plans will allow us to provide the best possible services to our communities and ensure our workforce who are working from home have the IT support available to them to deliver for our communities.”
The council refuse to comment on the “personal service” aspects of their role and fact that they may be cutting staff as a “benefit” of the new technology being brought in.