FENLAND: Council believes Skype technology could pave the way for massive savings on travel

PUBLISHED: 15:46 27 January 2009 | UPDATED: 08:51 02 June 2010

By JOHN ELWORTHY A BID to save expensive and time consuming trips to Shire Hall, Cambridge, has been launched by Fenland District Council. Council Leader Geoff Harper wants other local councils across Cambridgeshire to sign up to the same technology that

By JOHN ELWORTHY

A BID to save expensive and time consuming trips to Shire Hall, Cambridge, has been launched by Fenland District Council.

Council Leader Geoff Harper wants other local councils across Cambridgeshire to sign up to the same technology that Fenland uses to stay in touch with its finance chief in Australia.

Cllr Harper believes that face to face chats with county council officials at Shire Hall could be avoided if district council officials embraced the Skype option.

Last week Fenland Council revealed how Mat Taylor is able to continue working part time for the authority whilst living 10,000 miles away in Adelaide.

Cllr Harper now wants internet based technology to be used to save some of his- and other local authority officials- from travelling backwards and forwards to Shire Hall.

"One of our officers had to go to meetings at Shire Hall every day last week," said Cllr Harper. "Think about it. March to Cambridge is 60 miles, so that's one hour travelling there, then another hour for the return journey. If we could arrange these meetings via Skype, or something similar, we could save those costs of travel."

Sometimes, he agreed, it was necessary for "an eyeball to eyeball conversation" but on many occasions internet technology could work.

He has now met with leaders of East Cambs District Council, South Cambridgeshire District Council and Huntingdonshire District Council to present his proposals. He also hopes to meet soon with Cambridge City Council.

"I suppose you could say I am flying a kite," said Cllr Harper. "However this proposal will save money, save time and contribute to the green agenda."

He added: "Private enterprise does this all the time, so why shouldn't we?


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