Council to slash printing devices at Preston Town Hall to save cash

Printing facilities for staff at Preston Town Hall are to be slashed by half to save cash.

The authority is considering a new £28,000 a year leasing contract which will upgrade 26 of its 50 outdated printer/copier machines and get rid of the rest.

The council's cabinet will be asked to approve the move next week, saving more than £30,000 over the next five years.

And experts say that despite having only half as many devices in council offices the system will still be more efficient and cost-effective than at present.

Preston Council is getting rid of old printer devices and investing in state-of-the-art machines.

A report to the cabinet reveals that the council's IT department has withdrawn 200 inkjet printers and smaller devices from offices over the last 10 years.

Yet the cost of traditional desktop printing and photocopying "remains high and continues to increase." The system needs to be "updated, standardised and rationalised to get best value for money."

"This is largely due to the council’s printer estate being outdated, along with having many different models of printers and consumable types," the report explains.

"Most printers are between seven and 17-years-old. This can make it both difficult and costly to maintain the printers and procure replacement consumables.

The number of printer/copier devices at the Town Hall will be halved to save money.

"Printing solutions have advanced significantly during the last decade. The current contract no longer meets our requirements."

The council signed a three-year deal with HP/Canon to supply and maintain its printers in 2015. It was extended for a further three years in 2018 and the authority is now on a rolling contract with a three-month notice period.

An independent IT solutions company has carried out a thorough audit and has recommended three options for new equipment.

Only one of the three - Ricoh - is UK-based and therefore the preferred option, says the council.

A five-year deal with Ricoh for 26 state-of-the-art printers would cost just under £7,000 a quarter compared to the current contract of more than £8,500 with Canon/HP. The saving over the five-year contract would therefore be more than £31,000.

There are currently 29 different models of printers and copiers in council offices. Under a new Ricoh deal the figure would be reduced to just three.

Other benefits of up-to-date technology include printing from mobile devices, reduced carbon emissions, secure printing for confidential material and dedicated engineers with an average response time of 3.5 hours and next day fix.

Officers have recommended that cabinet members agree to the new contract.