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Let council staff use their own laptops

An interesting report on the BBC says:

Most people are well-acquainted with the concept of BYOB (bring your own bottle). But could the acronym BYOD (bring you own device) be about to revolutionise the way councils and other public bodies operate?

The issue doesn't seem to be councils paying for staff to have mobile phone or laptop for personal use. (Although there is some suggestion that staff who do this and thus save the council money should be rewarded.) The main point is allowing staff to use their own devices - which is something they feel would be a benefit. 

Steve Halliday, head of information communications technology at Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council, says.

"You would not expect your company to provide your own suits or shoes and the company car has become much less prevalent than it used to be.

"Your personal device is quite intimate and people will choose and want to use the devices they want."

Ever since I was elected as a councillor in 2006 the residents of Ravenscourt Park Ward in Hammersmith and Fulham have sent emails to me at harry.phibbs@lbhf.gov.uk - never once have I resorted to some special municipal login to read these emails. They have been automatically forwarded, by the thousand, to harry.phibbs@gmail.com. Thus I am enabled to intervene in their behalf before breakfast and after supper. I suspect this arrangement is the norm for councillors. It is convenient. Shouldn't this sort of flexibility also apply to council staff?

Mr Halliday says allowing staff to use their own computers leads to "efficient decision-making, citing the council's ability to co-ordinate its response to the recent floods in the west Midlands."

He adds:

"Nobody is being forced to do so. But I think it is a more pleasant experience being able to use the device you want rather than whatever the council can afford to buy you."

There are some practical issues involved. Security of personal data should be taken seriously although technological advances are assisting with this. In any case is someone less likely to leave their council laptop behind on a train than their personal laptop?

For councils wishing to reduce costs and to retain a flexible, highly motivated, workforce surely Solihull should be the guiding star?

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