Two Welsh councils embroiled in a procurement row have turned down a potential £300,000 offer for the controversial laptops which have been stuck in storage for the last two years, ChannelWeb understands.
Since the Welsh Government gave Torfaen and Monmouthshire schools permission to use the kit, at the much-reduced cost of £125 per device (after the Welsh Government absorbed the remaining cost itself) other councils have offered to buy them off the duo, but were turned down.
A Monmouthshire council councillor confirmed to ChannelWeb that during a recent member's seminar, it was revealed that a number of other councils were interested in the reduced-price laptops, but were told the kit was no longer for sale as the councils wanted it to be used in their own areas' schools.
The £1.8m worth of leftover kit came after Torfaen and Monmouthshire councils jointly procured around £12m worth of IT equipment as part of the iLearn Wales digital project. However, Newport withdrew at the last minute, according to the other councils, leaving them in charge of finding a third party to take the surplus kit off their hands. Newport denies it withdrew and said it was only in talks with the duo.
In January, the Welsh Government, which funded the majority of the iLearn Wales project, said that Torfaen and Monmouthshire could use the equipment at the reduced cost after a two-year period where the trio decided what to do with the surplus kit.
During that time, when the equipment was for sale at full price, no other third public sector body wanted it.
The laptops' warranties expired in March last year, and it is believed that on top of the cash offers for the kit, the councils are considering paying £50 per device for updated warranties, which for the remaining 2,400 laptops would cost the councils £120,000 between them.
Another councillor in the region, Armand Watts, described the whole process as "perplexing".
He said: "It is simply perplexing how they are prepared to pay good money after bad for the sake of this bizarre procurement process which went very wrong. Their pride has got in the way; it is an obsession that they are seeing through to the end."
Both Monmouthshire and Torfaen councils were unavailable to comment at the time of publication.
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