SAVINGS of more than £140,000 should be achieved on IT in the first year of the Dorset Council which starts work at the end of the month.

£50,000 a year is expected to be saved on an ongoing basis in maintenance and support costs from bringing some of the systems together and a further £92,000 one-off saving from merging four existing Microsoft agreements into one.

But until at least October the council's own internal system, its intranet, will continue to be hosted on a temporary, Wordpress, platform, rather than using the main Microsoft system because of legal agreements.

Praise for the Wordpress system, which only costs £1,000 a year, led one Dorset councillor, John Tanner, to question why the new council simply did not continue to use it, instead of migrating to Microsoft.

“If it is as wonderful as the officer report says it is, why pay out more to move it?” he said at a meeting of the shadow overview and scrutiny committee.

He was told that not moving did remain an option, subject to what staff thought about the system, although there would be benefits of having both the intranet and the internet with the same provider.

From May, after the council elections, the 82 councillors will each be provided with a corporately owned device and offered training on how to use it.

Cllr Jacqui Sewell welcomed the move. She said it was 'pathetic' that the current system does not allow councillors to print off documents at home – they either have to send it to a printer at County Hall, or another local office, and then collect it, or email to a personal email address and print at home – a move which the council has discouraged because of the security risk with potentially sensitive documents.

In response to a question from Cllr Shane Bartlett the meeting heard that IT systems which deal with residents parking permits, currently operated by districts and borough councils, would be fully operational on the new system from the first day, April 1.