REAMS of report papers are a thing of the past at Wigan Council, where iPad wielding councillors are helping to save money.

Councillors began using iPads last May as part of the council’s Modern Councillor programme and will save an estimated £50,000 in staff, print and postage costs – contributing to the £14m savings needed by 2014/15.

This is in addition to the Modernisation Programme (involving a number of projects including works to Wigan Town Hall) which once complete will save around £1m each year ongoing.

Cllr Terry Halliwell, cabinet member for customer transformation, said: “As part of the Deal, our Modern Councillor programme aims to ensure members are self-reliant and accessible – ensuring the electorate are able to keep in touch and have their say.

“It also aims to help reduce waste, cut bureaucracy and save money.

“Ultimately this piece of work will allow us to offer better value for money all round and that can only be a good thing.”

Forty of the 66 councillors who have been given an iPad are now completely paperless, with paper costs previously being in the region of £550 per member, per year.

Inspired by their progress, the council’s democratic services team has applied for a Paper Light Accreditation - a council initiative to make efficiencies through digital means and shun paper based ways of working.