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Gloucestershire County Council buys 700 laptops, checking staff backgrounds to meet tough Government IT rules

By jrmaidment  |  Posted: February 10, 2014

Gloucestershire County Council buys 700 laptops, checking staff backgrounds to meet tough Government IT rules
Comments (10)

The death of a laptop is now an almost universal rite of passage: Infuriating load up times, a testy relationship with Task Manager and the flickering screen of doom have become all too familiar.

But while replacing a home computer can be a costly affair, at least you’re only buying one.

Not so for Gloucestershire County Council whose decrepit IT system has prompted Shire Hall to fork out for 700 new laptops.

The county council is in the process of a major overhaul of its IT, mainly because the Government has imposed a tough set of new rules and regulations which all authorities must meet if they want access to a critical computer network.

Any council which is not compliant risks being kicked off of the Public Services Network (PSN) which authorities rely on to process things like benefit claims.

One of the key changes brought about by the new PSN standards is that county council staff and councillors can no longer use their own personal computers to access the network.

Combine that with the fact that 80 per cent of Shire Hall’s computers are more than four years old and that the council’s operating system, Windows XP, will no longer be supported by Microsoft as of this April necessitating an upgrade, and the authority has had no choice but to invest in some shiny new computers.

The council will not say how much the laptops have cost because the details are “commercially sensitive”.

Meanwhile, the county council is also facing a bill of close to £4,000 to background check all of its staff who will be using the network – another new PSN rule.

Approximately 100 employees will be subjected to the Independent Unspent Criminal Conviction Status check in 2014 at a cost of £31 plus VAT per person.

In its efforts to tick all of the Government’s computer security boxes the county council has also banned the use of all run-of-the-mill USB memory sticks to move data and it is now requiring staff and councillors to plug in their council-issued laptops into the council’s network for important software updates every two weeks.

Andrew McCartney, director at Gloucestershire County Council, said: “Our thorough recruitment process includes enhanced checks for staff working with vulnerable people.

“In addition, we have identified about 100 members of staff who, in line with the new requirements, will need an Independent Unspent Criminal Conviction Status check.

“As part of our regular ICT replacement and future ICT strategy we’ve purchased 700 modern laptops to be compliant with Microsoft’s newer operating system Windows 7.”

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10 comments

  • jackson99  |  February 23 2014, 3:49PM

    Windows 7 has been supersceded by windows 8.1 so will that mean more expense?

  • Kay_Powell  |  February 11 2014, 6:31PM

    GlosAnarchy, I refuse to believe that it would have cost £167 per unit to upgrade. This seems an enormous amount, and I know someone who upgraded for far less. Add to that the fact that there would have been many machines to be upgraded at the same time, and so economy of scale. Lecorche suggests that a Linux operating system could have been installed for free (excluding the time taken, which wouldn't be much per machine if a load were being dealt with at once).

    |   -19
  • Lecorche  |  February 11 2014, 3:14PM

    @ Kay Powell: I was thinking they could keep the old machines and install a Linux OS for free. Windows anything is bloated and prone to virus attacks. It's also expensive for what you get.

  • EllJay1  |  February 11 2014, 2:54PM

    GlosAnarchy - please don't correct people so rudely. Is this the way you talk to your friends if their knowledge of a subject isn't up to professional level.

  • GlosAnarchy  |  February 10 2014, 11:07PM

    Kay_Powell - please don't talk about that which you obviously don't have much knowledge £167 for windows 7 professional upgrade! Is the old laptop 64bit compliant, have enough memory? How many hours to carry out the upgrade at how much an hour? After this if the laptop fails a week later 100% loss!

    |   -23
  • Kay_Powell  |  February 10 2014, 9:28PM

    Unless these laptops were really ancient, they could have been upgraded to Windows 7 without the need to buy 700 new laptops. The operating system is software, you know, and can be wiped and re-installed in a newer version. I agree that the amount paid should not have been commercially sensitive. They could probably have got a better deal from PC World than whoever their supplier was.

    |   -19
  • Apothegm_  |  February 10 2014, 8:39PM

    About the only sensible thing which emerges from the exercise is that they didn't buy Windows 8/8.1 laptops!

  • JemmyWood  |  February 10 2014, 8:05PM

    Cost of the laptops 'commercially sensitive'? REALLY.?,!!??? From who.... .?????? It's a Council not a private business. The reason they don't want to say is because they have bought bargin basement laptops at a Rolls Royce price thanks to some poor contract writing and are too embaressed to say. Even more of our money wasted by a feckless bunch of idiots who seem to revel in wasting our money whilst making cuts to services.

  • JemmyWood  |  February 10 2014, 8:02PM

    Cost of the laptops 'commercially sensitive'? REALLY.?,!!??? From who.... .?????? It's a Council not a private business. The reason they don't want to say is because they have bought bargin basement laptops at a Rolls Royce price thanks to some poor contract writing and are too embaressed to say. Even more of our money wasted by a feckless bunch of idiots who seem to revel in wasting our money whilst making cuts to services.

  • meymey  |  February 10 2014, 7:12PM

    the illuminati strike again

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