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Departments reveal mobile device spending

Defence splurged £6.6m on 45,000 'devices' and data services in 2009-10

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The Department for Transport spent £1.5m on mobile telephones and related data services in the 2010-11 financial year. The department, which has seven executive agencies, disclosed that 7,757 officials were issued with mobile phones such as BlackBerrys and other 3G devices in that year.

The department was responding to a parliamentary written question from Conservative MP Mike Freer about expenditure on mobile services for the latest available financial year. The Department of Health was the second largest spender, with costs of £738,301 on mobile communications devices during 2010, with 1,741 staff issued with phones during that year.

The Ministry of Defence was unable to provide the information on the 2010-11 financial year that was requested, but instead said it had spent £6.6m on mobile communications devices for ministers, members of the armed forces and civil servants in 2009-10 as part of the Defence Fixed Telecommunications Service, which provides most of its mobile communication requirements.

Defence minister Andrew Robathan added that 45,306 devices, including mobile phones, BlackBerrys and 3G data cards, were in issue at the end of the 2009-10 financial year. The spending includes rental, calls and data services.

Other answers show that the Department for International Development (DfID) provided 728 officials with mobile phones in the UK, with total spending of £222,789 on UK and overseas devices in 2010-11. International development minister Alan Duncan said the department was unable to give a figure for the mobiles in use by overseas DfID staff, as responsibility and accounting had been devolved to overseas offices, and collating the data would cost too much.

Communities and Local Government has 725 mobile devices on issue, on which it spent £113,000 in 2009-10. The Northern Ireland Office spent £13,957 on such services, with 52 officials provided with devices in 2010-11; and the Scotland Office, which provides 27 members of staff with mobiles, spent £12,757 in 2009-10.

This article was originally published at Guardian Government Computing.

Guardian Government Computing is a business division of Guardian Professional, and covers the latest news and analysis of public sector technology. For updates on public sector IT, join the Government Computing Network here.

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