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Budget minded governments could use the iPad instead of paper
by Kathryn Robbins on August 14, 2010
Government officials in the US and UK are facing a similar problem; they’ve got to find a way to trim their budgets. Many have singled out the cost of printing documents as an expense that can be replaced by new technology. If they relied on gadgets like the iPad they could do away with the cost of paper, copy machine maintenance, and the distribution of documents. While some in the US have found success with the iPad, some spots in the UK are facing an uphill battle.
The iPad was an instant hit in Congress due to its ability to store a lot of paperwork, edit legislation on the fly, and catch up on the latest news. Other lawmakers thought that the same ideas could be applied to areas such as the city of Williamsburg, Virginia.
Back in July, Williamsburg’s city council decided to dump their printing costs in favor of iPads for their five council members. They may have spent $3,000 on their new gadgets, but the investment in the paper-free technology paid off. They saved $471 by not printing the agenda for a single city council meeting and are on track to save about $2,000 annually.
While the iPad may be a hot item in US city halls, it is also popular across the pond. Britain’s Leicester city council started a test program to see if the tablet could make council members more productive and save printing costs. So far, the iPad is getting rave reviews among the four council members that have been part of the test project. Conservative group leader Ross Grant said that “when I'm in key meetings I've asked for council agendas to be e-mailed as PDF files to the iPad so I no longer need printed documents. This could save the council money in the long term.''
While many of their US counterparts have purchased iPads on a small scale, the Leicester City Council is thinking big. They want to buy iPads for over 50 government employees for £40,000 or about $63,000. Some estimate that the iPads could save Leicester about $114,000 a year in printing and postage costs, but upcoming job cuts may influence public opinion. While some employees may get a shiny new iPad, almost 1,000 people may be lose their jobs due to budget cuts.