Torfaen Council has denied that there is an extra £300,000 worth of wireless equipment awaiting deployment amid an ongoing procurement row.
The council claims that a Freedom of Information (FOI) request response seen by ChannelWeb earlier this week – which gave the impression there was more unused kit than first thought – actually referred to the entire lot of wireless kit procured for all three councils, and not just the surplus.
The FOI request question, submitted by a member of the public, read: "Some 2,424 laptops and £800,000 worth of wireless networking kit has been in storage at an office block in Blaenavon since purchased in 2011. 1) What is the breakdown of costs of these laptops when originally bought? 2) What is the breakdown of costs of the networking equipment?"
The response said the laptops had cost £405 each and provided a list of networking equipment (below) that had been procured, which totalled more than £1m – £300,000 more than first thought.
Torfaen insists that it answered the question put to it accurately, and provided a full list of all networking equipment which was procured for a three-party contract, and not just the surplus equipment.
In a statement, a Torfaen representative said: "The figure provided of just over £1m is an accurate response to a question within the FOI request. The figure of just over £1m refers to the cost of all ancillary equipment purchased for a three-partner project and included network equipment already in use in Torfaen and Monmouthshire schools."
The procurement row started when Torfaen and Monmouthshire councils jointly procured a variety of IT equipment with a grant from the Welsh government in 2011.
The councils believed neighbouring authority Newport City Council to be on board with them, and claim it pulled out after all the kit was procured, a claim Newport denies.
The remaining kit, which was procured on behalf of Newport, then lay in storage for about two years before the Welsh government ruled that the two councils could share the kit if they paid a £400,000 claw-back fee. The deadline for deployment is 31 March, and Torfaen council's chief has denied that the procurement procedure was flawed.
Full breakdown of the wireless equipment cost for all three councils
20 x ASA5550 Firewalls: £111,631.60
2 x 3750X: £3,731.43
11 x 3750 (24 port): £23,130.12
25 x 3750 (12 port): £92,287.00
260 x 2960 (48 port): £339,015.57
87 x 2960 (24 port): £62,966.23
1,000 x WAPs 3502: £342,669.74
802 x GBICs: £114,643.80
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