Buttercross, January 16, 2015: Technology can help Swaffham into the 21st century

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We are lucky in our town that we have people who put their heart and soul into attempting to make us ever better.

Some are volunteers commendably but others do it enthusiastically from their place of work. One such person is Rosie Noble who has just retired from her position as our town’s Deputy Clerk.

Rosie has worked for us, as a council employee, for many years and carried out her duties quietly and diligently. Undoubtedly some decisions might not have met with her personal approval but, as a true professional, she did what was required of her without question.

Our council employees do not enjoy the best of working conditions, with particularly the office area at least being undersized, a surprising fact given these premises were redesigned comparatively recently.

It is not known if there is a “scale of size” guide for such buildings but there certainly is in the MOD world.

Interestingly, not that many years ago a new office complex was designed and constructed on a nearby military base at substantial cost.

When military and civilian staff finally moved in, comment was made that the available office floor space appeared small. When a check was made against the aforementioned military scale, it was discovered that floor areas did not take into consideration any required furniture and fittings. Let us hope this same error was not made in our council offices but one can but wonder.

Anyway, Rosie has left and no doubt all will wish her a long and happy retirement.

While mentioning the council this is certainly a good time to also wish our Deputy Mayor, Stuart Bell, a speedy recovery from his ongoing illness. He certainly has been one of our more active councillors with our town’s wellbeing, and future, constantly in his thoughts.

Back to the office theme, one thing that has been in place for many years now is the use of the computer. It was said at the time of its initial arrival that it would take us towards a “paperless society. The turn of the millennium caused many hearts to flutter with the worry that the Millennium “bug” would somehow destroy computers and other equipment. Mostly a false alarm thankfully.

But, many years later, we still appear to be far from being “paperless”. Our councillors still receive their monthly meeting “ packs” in paper form. Some might ask why this is still so?

In the world of the internet and tablets now being so affordable, one might ask why councillors aren’t making use of this modern technology, with each meeting’s information emailed to them, a system which surely would be more eco-friendly and save time.

It is interesting that so many older people are embracing the use of tablets, computers and, generally, this electronic world.

There is a suggestion that our churches could act as bases for broadband “hubs”, to improve connection and certainly speeds. Maybe we will be seeing something along these lines before too long? Swaffham moving along in the 21st century. Wow!