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Laptops bought to save on Sandwell social workers' mileage claims
2:55pm Tuesday 3rd September 2013 in News
CASH-strapped Sandwell Council is to spend more than £250,000 on laptops for children’s services staff, so they can work outside the office, including from home.
Finance chiefs have given the thumbs up to the purchase of 212 Elite Books plus software which it is estimated will save £20,250 a year in mileage payments.
It is also hoped the introduction of “agile working” will benefit vulnerable children catered for by the department, which was recently judged “inadequate” by Ofsted inspectors.
A report to finance cabinet member Councillor Steve Eling said the £257,000 investment would reduce the number of journeys made by officers, by enabling them to work remotely and access systems away from the office.
Children’s files will be able to be updated more efficiently while working at court on safeguarding cases and they will be able to work from home.
The report said: “Currently officers come into the office to work to then go to a meeting somewhere else, enabling officers to be able to work from home will allow for the better use of time and less wasted journeys, especially at the start of the day.”
Another reason for the introduction of laptops is that the local authority is also reducing the number of council buildings and hence there are fewer desks available for staff.
The report added: “Introducing the right supporting technology will encourage a more timely update of case information by enabling social workers to work from a variety of locations.
“This will be to the benefit of the children themselves and all those involved in the process of supporting vulnerable children.”
The introduction of the laptops is due to be completed by March 2014.
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