The Mosman Daily 10 Feb 11 by EMMA PAGE and BOEL ERIKSSON

MOSMAN councillors will go paper-free next year in a radical new push to save paper, cut printing and delivery costs and improve filing systems.

By September 2012, all councillors will be given the latest generation of iPads, in lieu of their laptops, to use for council-related work, Mosman general manager Viv May said.

“This kind of e-technology puts us streets ahead of other councils and will help us appeal to a younger demographic and attract the next generation of councillors,’’ he said.

The move is estimated to save the council 82,026 sheets of paper, or 164 reams, over 21 months, and would slash printing costs by about $21,300.

 

Six councillors have already gone electronic, opting to receive their monthly agendas, minutes, memos and letters via a new online portal, which can be accessed from their laptops, home computers and mobile phones.

“It’s a great idea, it’s up and running and works really well,’’ Cr Simon Menzies said.

“It means no more satchels delivered to our home at the end of the week, no more reams of paper on my desk and no more filing cabinets taking up space.’‘

The move has been lauded by environmentalist Jon Dee, who said other councils should do the same.

The portal uses the same system as the council’s DA tracker, where PDF, word and image documents are uploaded in chronological order by staff and can be accessed at any time.

But the new system will be password-protected for councillor use only.

Documents will be archived in cyberspace, making it easier to search for and manage them.

North Sydney Council is also considering replacing council agendas with iPads.

General manager Penny Holloway said the council would “investigate’’ the cost and benefitscom, including environmental, and the effectiveness  and provide a report to councillors before making a decision.

“It’s not just a matter of purchasing the equipment and handing it over,’’ she said. “We have to compare the costs.’‘

She said it cost the council about $200 on average per meeting to print papers for a regular-sized agenda, about 400 pages, for the 13 councillors.

The council is required under state legislation to keep hard copies of their minutes for at least seven years.

Ms Holloway said they kept the minutes “forever’’ in the Stanton Library archives as it was “part of the council’s history’‘.

Note from SHOROC: Pittwater Councillors have been issued with Ipads on which they can view Council meeting agendas and minutes, plus the Council’s internal correspondence systems and email. These are proving useful in meetings. There is also a Councillor intranet, which gives them access to relevant legislation such as the Local Government Act, codes of conduct, media releases and other useful information.