Council to fork out £143k on laptop upgrade

Scottish Border Coucilis having to spend over �140,000 on new IT equipment
Scottish Border Coucilis having to spend over �140,000 on new IT equipment

The council has had to bring forward almost £100,000 from next year’s budget to help pay for new laptop computers for staff.

The roll-out of 180 new laptops is required to ensure that council staff can use a new Government secure network.

On Tuesday, members of the executive committee agreed to accelerate £97,000 from the 2014/15 budget to help with the estimated £143,000 bill for the new equipment.

A report before councillors stated: “The secure government GSX network currently used by Scottish Borders Council (SBC) to fulfil several of the council’s statutory duties is being replaced by the Public Services Network (PSN).

“Connectivity to PSN requires strict compliance with specific security requirements of the Cabinet Office which was not enforced through GSX previously.”

The current budget had £46,000 available to go towards the IT upgrade.

Following the meeting an SBC spokesman added: “The council currently runs Windows XP on its desktops and laptops, but XP will not be supported by Microsoft from April 8, 2014.

“PSN accreditation requires us to have a supported platform and this is why the council needs to move to Windows 7, which is supported by Microsoft. This is standard for the enterprise area and is compatible with the applications we run on our network currently.”

He added: “Windows 7 requires a minimum specification of memory and processor to ensure adequate performance and this will result in the majority of the corporate estate either requiring upgrade or replacement.

“Some of the older machines don’t meet the specification required and are at end of life and out of warranty so they will be replaced.

“We have a rolling programme of replacement which needs to be accelerated slightly as a result of the upgrade to Windows 7.

The Government’s introduction of the Public Services Network creates a ‘network of networks’ to increase efficiency and allow greater data sharing across organisations.