SKIPTON Town Council is considering investing in electronic tablets in a bid to save money and become more sustainable.

Councillors at last week’s full meeting were in agreement of the plan, but pulled back from making a commitment to move to computer tablets for all councillors and senior officers.

Instead, a report detailing the cost of buying 22 tablets and the likely savings, will be discussed by the council’s Finance and Policy Committee first.

A report to the meeting by chief officer Dave Parker said how officers and members had been looking at identifying ways of both reducing administrative costs and increasing the efficiency and sustainability of the councils operations.

“One proposal is that the council should mirror the approach taken by a number of other local authorities in issuing electronic tablets to all councillors and to key members of staff.”

Mr Parker said with members approval, detailed work would be undertaken to the type and quantity of tablets.

In addition, the council spends a ‘good deal of money’ on the production and distribution of paperwork relating to council meetings, said Mr Parker.

“The cost of postage, copying and paper is not unsubstantial and the quantity of printing and paper usage is not in keeping with the council’s sustainability inspirations,” he said.

The council has also been attempting to move to a system of council email addresses for all councillors, but problems have arisen to do with compatibility between the council’s own IT systems and members own computer equipment.

“ It is felt that a move to tablet based communications will address many of these issues and allow the council to operate more efficiently and effectively,” he said.

Mr Parker said where possible, the council would move to the electronic distribution of agendas, agenda reports, minutes and other general communication.

Paper copies would still be given out to those members who requested them, and members of the public, but it was hoped the majority if not all of councillors would embrace the move to paperless working.

Cllr John Dawson said he agreed in principle, but he needed to know more about cost involved and how much savings there would be. He also claimed that of the 30 members of Craven District Council, of which he was a member until last year, just 12 used their council iPads.

Cllr Andy Solloway said it would fit in with the council’s green aspirations. “It will link us with other authorities who have been doing this for some time and it will save us a fortune,” he said.”