Hold the phone, how good is the technology the Council supplies you?

Like all businesses, councils are obliged to supply appropriate tools to those who need them to get the job done effectively and efficiently. They would never get away with supplying substandard tools, nor would they contemplate it because it’s a false economy. Neither would they get away with poor quality plant generally.

Why is it then that we still see professional employees wandering around with telephones that would be more appropriately exhibited in the Powerhouse Museum?

Health, building and planning professionals should be provided with phones that allow them to be efficient and make the best value of the time out on the site or on-the-job. Yet smart phones which provide access to emails and Internet and a good quality camera are still not widespread amongst local government professionals.

How much easier would it be to carry a smart phone to a site instead of a dumb phone and a camera. How much more practical and more efficient it would be to be able to use a smart phone to tap into the Council’s file system or send and receive email information. On a site and something pops up unexpectedly, an android phone provides solutions and opportunities beyond the comprehension of the old blokes often in charge of buying them.

That’s why at many councils it is the Manager of Finance or some other bean-counter who makes judgements about the sort of phone that will be provided to professional staff who could be much more efficient in the field with a multimedia phone.

Some councils are already dealing with complaints from staff about the adequacy of their phones and how much more effective they would be moving into the 21st century with a phone capable of many other functions. Many councils aren’t. Some councils give smart phones at higher levels of the organisations because they recognise they want their better paid employees maximising their efficiency and effectiveness but don’t really think about how far down the organisation this improved efficiency should go.

It doesn’t make any sense. Professional employees who work in the field must be provided with phones that allow them to do the job properly. Not in terms of how it was done in 1970, but how could be done now, taking advantage of the benefits of the new technologies

This is an industrial issue in which we can be involved. We have conducted disputes in the past about the health and safety aspects of members working in remote locations where old analog phones, or cheap telecommunication networks, didn’t provide proper coverage. While these issues still continue in some areas (meaning it makes sense from a health and safety viewpoint the two employees to go out on particular jobs, rather than one) these health and safety issues are easily won.

We would love the opportunity to grapple with a Council where some accountant has decided, without really knowing the usefulness of a smart phone to professionals working in the field, that they should be provided with something less.

Any volunteers?

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