back to article Over a thousand electronic gizmos went missing from London councils last year

Butterfingered London councils have managed to lose nearly 1,300 laptops, mobiles and tablets, according to figures obtained by Freedom of Information requests. Researchers at the think tank Parliament Street collated three years' worth of data from councils in the UK capital to show a jump to 635 lost or stolen devices in …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not all who are missing are lost

    Quite a number of years ago now, I was involuntarily signed up to carry a pager along with a handful of other reluctant (development, not support) engineers.

    It wasn't so much lost, as drowned... in a pitcher of beer, naturally.

    A/C for obvious reasons.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Well done to Lewisham...

    Both Labour controlled so hopefully a bit of naming and shaming will prompt the comrades at Lambeth to get their act together.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I remember a time in the army when many were on a very short notice to move. A different unit under the same conditions issued pagers, my one did not expecting you to carry your phone on you at all times.

    Amazing how many 'not spots' there are for phone signal some times.

    (this was a known state rather than a short term issue, the unit in charge just put their heads in the sand and refused to listen to those they commanded hence some tried to prove the point that they shouldn't rely on communication methods they had no control over).

  4. alain williams Silver badge

    How does this compare ...

    with the loss of non-electronic items ?

    what is the total number of these gizmos - ie what percentage were lost in any year ?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: How does this compare ...

      They couldn't tell - they lost the clipboard and paper they were keeping notes on after they misplaced their laptop!

  5. Stoneshop Silver badge

    So in Lambeth council

    the number of devices lost was over 10% of the workforce headcount, while Lewisham probably had their laptops and tablets locked in a filing cabinet in a disused lavatory, leopard, stairs, etc., sending out their staff with clipboards, paper and biros.

    1. katrinab Silver badge

      Re: So in Lambeth council

      We are talking about the Rotten Borough of Lambeth here.

  6. macjules Silver badge

    Over a thousand electronic gizmos went missing from London councils last year

    Bet they didn't lose any of those blasted parking attendant computers though.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Over a thousand electronic gizmos went missing from London councils last year

      They're about a grand each, phones cost about £50 depending on model.

      1. LucreLout

        Re: Over a thousand electronic gizmos went missing from London councils last year

        They're about a grand each, phones cost about £50 depending on model.

        Not once they've been through the public sector procurement process they don't!

        Back in the mid 90s it used to cost my then public sector employer £6 to order a 6p Bic biro due to all the requisition paperwork and sign-offs that were needed, and had to be done physically at the time. The irony of needing a pen to fill in a paper form to get a pen was perpetually overlooked.

        I'm not suggesting it is any better in much of the private sector, but at least that you aren't compelled to fund. My current CTO has to sign off on my expenses - though at least they're not for basic stationary as we have a well stocked cupboard of that. Fewer signatures, but his hourly rate is probably a little higher than mine plus whatever I was expensing.

        1. Terry 6 Silver badge

          Re: Over a thousand electronic gizmos went missing from London councils last year

          That's not right. A department manager in a LA ( or the admin) will have a level of sign-off and only needs to refer items above that to higher authority. There are rules and costs attached to using the approved supplier, as has been much discussed in these spaces over the years. But these are percentages, not multiples.

  7. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    I wonder what the age at time of loss distribution looks like. Does it peak when newer models are launched? So the councils with the highest losses have a new for old policy and those with fewest and even older for old policy? Suspicious? Moi?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Some of us....

      Prefer the old to the new shiny, shiny... Company issues mac book pro 2015 being a case in point. I refuse to replace it with one of the newer models because of the sodding keys and thunderbolt 3 dongle boondoggle.

      Or when issued a lenovo t440 with the stupid track pad (now replaced with a much superior t470 thankfully.

      Anon because I'm not letting IT get any funny ideas on replacing my kit.

  8. Chris G Silver badge

    Some decades back, I was the workshop manager of the grounds maintenance division of a London council. One or two areas we operated in were known hotspots for unattended items to go missing, the areas had high numbers of pikeys and travellers who had a reputation for nicking anything that wasn't nailed down.

    over a period of a couple of months, several mowers and strimmers had gone walkies and I had to set up a system where each operator had to sign for his kit each day to try to find out who was most lax and to make them feel more responsible for their kit.

    The first weekend after the signing system was set up, one of my mechanics went to a boot fair some forty miles away and discovered a stall with a load of our kit still in it's colours that we painted on to everything and still wearing the engraved stock numbers.

    The stall holder? One of the mowing team members and a mate from another council who was providing stock too.

    They both received early morning visits from the constabulary.

  9. chivo243 Silver badge

    A little data mining

    would show "a lot" of these devices were lost around the time some newer shiny models were being released.

  10. Terry 6 Silver badge

    Contextual information required

    Such as equivalent rate of loss in non Local Authority organisations and the general public.

    Variation in rate of loss between office and mobile staff.

    And even.

    Variation in crime figures between authorities.

    Otherwise this story is meaningless. Clickbait by an organisation wanting publicity or simply a way to beat local authorities over the head.

    This one btw seems to be a Tory fan club.

    1. Mark Exclamation

      Re: Contextual information required

      But it would have been ok if it had been a Labour fan club?

      1. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Re: Contextual information required

        No, don't be silly.

        That part of the point is that it was from a politically motivated organisation. But that being said, that it's not in context suggests that the political motivation has much more to do with this. And yes, if it had been Labour generated the point could be the same ( but maybe not the LAs quoted).

  11. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge


    Meanwhile, several specific London branches of CEX and Cash converters have recorded record profits no doubt...

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    We don't 'loose' many phones, losses are more commonly the tradesmen breaking them. We can supply all the rugged devices and cases you like but if a worky doesn't want to work phones often accidentally end up in rivers or under the wheels of heavy plant. In terms of lost phones actually elected members are probably the worst for this rather than employees. They demand expensive toys then lose them.

  13. tony2heads

    Drowned phones

    Didn't they watch the IT crowd

  14. fluffymitten

    Back in 2005 I was contracting at a local council and helped out with a county-wide equipment audit. Very interesting to discover that many staffs believed the equipment the council supplied belonged to them so they took it home!

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Repeat offender

    A while ago we had one user that broke 4 phones in a 12 month period (physical labour and smart phones do not mix) and we just kept giving them the same model as a replacement - Samsung S3 Mini to be precise

    When the time came for a new model to be issued to the staff, the user in question still got the old model as a replacement with the advice of:

    "Keep this one working for at least 6 months and we will see about an upgrade"

    ***Time passes by***

    12 month later the battery swells and send the phone to the network in the sky, and they finally got the upgrade, with a further warning to look after it, or they get a dumb phone as a replacement.

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