Council to track use of their ratepayer-funded iPads

CITY of Ballarat councillors are set to receive monthly reports tracking the use of their ratepayer-funded iPads.

Rules dictating councillors’ iPad, tablet and mobile phone usage have been spelt out under a proposed new councillor telecommunications equipment policy.

It aims to ensure computers and phones are used “appropriately and responsibly” by councillors.

The policy forbids friends or family members of elected representatives from using the iPads, except in emergency situations.

But it recognises councillors may have to use the devices for personal reasons in some situations while meeting the demands of their elected duties. A monthly report of their usage will also be provided to the councillors by City of Ballarat staff.

All councillors are provided with a laptop, access to the internet, a colour printer, standard Microsoft Office software, a portable hard-drive for backups, a mobile phone, a bluetooth mobile hands-free car kit and an iPad or tablet.

The new policy is due to be considered by the council tomorrow and comes after a recent review of the city’s current Use of Computers and Telecommunication and Telecommunication policies.

Councillors are told emails are “discoverable and recoverable” and might be the subject of Freedom of Information searches.

But the city allows “reasonable” personal use of its ICT systems as long as it does not interfere with council business or contravene policies.

“As part of the review we have considered the new technology councillors are now provided and reviewed current practices,” council officers said in their report.

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