Highland Council’s final meeting of the year cancelled amid IT problems

Today’s full council meeting has been cancelled due to IT problems.

If they can be resolved, the meeting will go ahead at 9am tomorrow.

If not, the meeting will be rescheduled for some time in January.

The problems started early, during councillor pre-meetings, and by the time the meeting was due to start at 10.30am,  more than 30 councillors were unable to connect.

The meeting was adjourned until noon, without a resolution to the problems.

IT providers Wipro, who have a £3m contract with the council, sent a message of apology which convener councillor Bill Lobban read to those who had managed to join the live webcast.

The problems redoubled irritation among councillors, who have been privately questioning the Wipro contract in the face of a litany of IT complaints.

Other councillors questioned the morning’s procedure, with Tory opposition leader Andrew Jarvie calling it ‘an utter farce’.

He said he and many others were asked to drive into the chamber.

He said: “While it’s not exactly against the regulations, it’s not something I was prepared to do.”

The 27  item meeting was predicted to run into Friday even before the IT problems, with the day ‘tentatively’ scheduled for overspill.

Councillor Duncan Macpherson said fellow councillors now fear there will not be enough time to hear the items even if the meeting goes ahead tomorrow.

“There are also five motions, fifteen members’ questions and a further question from a member of the public.”

Councillor Ken Gowans said members may have made alternative plans for Friday and he would have to work around his teaching commitment.

“It undermines confidence in Wipro,” he said. “A date in January would allow members time to schedule it into their diaries, and of course adjustments will be need to be made in some of the papers.”


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