CONCERN has been raised about councillors’ ability to support Glasgow’s most vulnerable after many had to hand over their laptops due to a shortage for staff.

Elected members were asked last month to surrender their devices so Glasgow City Council could prepare for coronavirus lockdown.

A number of councillors are concerned about the lack of laptops and have questioned the council’s IT contract with Canadian firm CGI, which began in 2017.

Councillor Jon Molyneux, who represents Pollokshields, said: “Many will be happy to give up their devices for others working on the frontline, though clearly the council’s IT contractors have a responsibility to ensure everyone has what they need to do their jobs.

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“Whilst it’s understandable that there’s been some reduction in support to councillors so that staff can be focused on essential services, it’s important to strike a balance and ensure that citizens continue to be represented.”

His concern is shared by Springburn/Robroyston councillor Martin McElroy, who says some of his colleagues are struggling to adapt to the changes.

He said: “More experienced colleagues who are maybe not the most tech-savvy are having big problems coping with this.

“All of the support staff who would normally help them are not able to assist them. It is problematic.

“We’re not getting any responses from departments about stuff.

“Even queries about bins getting missed or issues around trying to conduct business as usual is just not possible. There is a problem where some councillors are out of the loop.”

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A Glasgow City Council spokesman said: “Although many of the council’s staff are designated as mobile workers and use devices that allow them to work from anywhere, we identified around 400 people who are able to carry out work critical to the city’s coronavirus response, but who did not have equipment to allow them to work from home.

“Our first step has been to redirect all new devices, which were due to be rolled out to a variety of staff, to those workers. However, we have also asked a number of users across the council if we can redeploy their equipment to colleagues in an essential role.

“This not only improves our ability to keep the most vital services running, but supports the national lockdown measures to protect the NHS and save lives.”

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