Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Southampton Council spends £10k on 900 mobile devices

Southampton City Council Image copyright Google
Image caption The council said there was no reason to believe the devices were missing

A council paid more than £10,000 for hundreds of mobile devices despite not knowing which staff members were using them.

Documents show Southampton City Council was unable to match the 931 devices to current employees.

The devices cost the authority £10,843.91 in plan charges between November and January .

The council said there was no evidence they had been used by anyone other than council employees or they were missing.

Southampton Itchen MP Royston Smith called it "a shocking waste", adding: "This is an abuse of taxpayers' money."

A report said 272 of the 931 devices cost £3,234.25 in Vodafone plan charges but had not been used at all.

More than 500 other devices were used for calls, text messages or data and cost £6,865.66, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.

'Shortcomings in record-keeping'

The authority did not confirm whether it was still paying Vodafone for the devices.

Council leader Christopher Hammond said: "We don't believe there has been actual wrongdoing or financial loss, but we take our stewardship of public money seriously and if that turns out to be the case we will pursue those responsible and recover any funds lost."

The council will introduce an action plan that would require managers to provide a list of devices against named staff members and any devices unaccounted for would be disconnected.

A spokesman said: "The report is clear that there have been shortcomings in the council's mobile device record-keeping in the past. 

"There is however no evidence that the devices have been used by anyone other than council employees, or that they are missing, or that the council has been charged for devices that are not legitimately allocated for staff use."

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