Council fury at remote IT access ban

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Councillors in Hull have hit out at a Government “diktat” banning remote access to local authority IT systems from private computers and phones.

The city’s Labour group said the council would now have to issue tablet devices to staff and councillors who previously used their own computers when working at home or away from their offices.

Phil Webster, portfolio holder for finance, said: “Just because these bungling bureaucrats in Whitehall cannot look after their data everyone has to suffer.

“We now have no choice but to issue devices to all members and those that work remotely.”

Existing staff laptops will also be withdrawn and replaced with tablets under plans to become a paper-free council, which he argued would “save thousands” on photocopying and printing costs.

Councils that refused to comply with the instructions handed down from Whitehall on August 8 were told their access to Department of Work and Pensions and other Government IT systems would be cut off last week.

The group said it would have caused much of Hull’s benefits work to have ground to a halt.

Accusing Ministers of “sneaking” out the orders in the holiday season, deputy council leader Daren Hale said: “A diktat at two weeks’ notice has taken everyone by surprise.

“It is typical of this Government to act without a care for financial and organisational implications.”