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British government misallocates printers

November 9, 2015

The House of Lords in sessionMembers of the House of Lords are being allocated up to four printers each, along with multiple laptops and iPads, a Freedom of Information (FoI) request has uncovered.

The government house has since launched a review of its IT register, admitting records are inadequate, despite a cross-party committee trying to prevent the publication of a breakdown of how IT equipment is distributed, Mail Online reported.

Some lords have been able to have one printer for home use, one for office, another for “travel”, and another to be shared with other Westminster peers. Just before the details were disclosed, the House of Lords changed the rules so that in the future members can only have one printer in their office and another to be shared by other peers.

The register suggests that more than 1,100 devices have been allocated, but it is “littered with errors”, with Baroness Massey listed as having two iPads, a laptop and three printers, while she contests she only has one of each device.

A House of Lords spokesman said: “In the past, printers for home use were also issued on loan although no new loans of printers for home use are possible with effect from October 21 2015. Desktop printers are shared between occupants of parliamentary offices.”

The spokesman added: “It has become clear that records were not always as accurate as they should have been with some members recorded as having more equipment than is actually the case.

“The clerk of the parliaments has asked the Digital Service to review this and the processes and records will be audited in the near future to ensure that appropriate and robust measures are in place.”

Dia Chakravarty, Political Director of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “Peers will need office equipment to do their jobs, but it’s deeply concerning that the parliamentary records were so inaccurate. Laptops and printers cost taxpayers a fortune so every possible step must be taken to ensure that the record books are clear, and expensive kit isn’t dished out without any check on who already has what.

“The authorities should also ensure that they are buying cost-effective equipment and aren’t wasting taxpayers’ cash on unnecessarily high-end gadgets.”

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