Councillor Huelin introduced
the report and stated that the contract for printers was due to end
in March 2021, and although the current printers were only 4-5
years old, they were already out of date models that were reaching
end of life. She stated that the cheapest option would be to extend
the current contract, but this would leave the Council with out of
date equipment, which could be detrimental to different
departments. She added that the contract for library equipment and
council tax billing was currently with external companies, but was
also due to come to an end. She commented that currently the best
option was to amalgamate these three contracts, which would mean
that all three systems could work together and benefit residents.
She stated that this would increase flexibility, and introduce
technology such as barcoding, ticketing, mail-merge, large
documents being sent to the most efficient printer, paper folding
and enveloping, as well as a fully automated GDPR trail. She added
that if the three contracts were amalgamated residents would also
be able to visit a library or hub to scan and send documents
securely, rather than having to visit the Civic Offices. She added
that caseworkers would also be able to print and collect documents
securely from libraries and hubs, rather than travelling back to
the offices. She added that the new printers would also reduce the
carbon footprint of the offices, as they could produce ‘green
agendas’ through a fully automated, robotic process. She
stated that the current contract cost £190,000, and the new
contract would increase this figure by £35,000 to
£231,000. She stated that the contract for libraries and
council tax billing currently cost £41,000. She stated that
the new printers would also reduce ink costs, envelopes and paper
usage, although the cost of printing per page would be higher. She
stated that as the Council currently used nine million pages of
paper per year, the Council would have to reduce printing by at
least 10% over two years to come in on budget. She stated that a
review into paper usage would be completed, and she hoped to see
the paper reduction target changed to 35%.
Councillor Mayes commented that although he felt concerned over the increased cost of printing per page, he could see the benefit that the new printers would give to the Council. Councillor Huelin commented that the procurement of the new contract would follow Council rules, and she had also raised concerns with officers over the cost of printing per page, but had been reassured that the other printing savings would ensure a balanced budget. The Leader added that this was an important report, as the Council needed to bring control over council tax billing back in house, due to the problems seen in this service during the height of the pandemic. He agreed with Councillor Huelin that the paper reduction target should be increased, and felt it was good to see that residents could safely scan documents to the council from across the borough.
RESOLVED: That Cabinet:
1. Recommended to grant ICT authority to procure a new MFD contract.
2. Recommended to grant delegated authority to the Director Finance, Governance and Property to contract award, in consultation with the relevant Portfolio Holder.