Spending up to £60 million on ipads or other electronic tablets at a time of austerity is always going to attract criticism.
Such a huge investment will inevitably be questioned when nurses’ jobs and other public sector posts are being cut.
It is easy to dismiss the investment as cushy perks for senior managers – and there are many who will see it as exactly that.
But technology which helps us do our jobs more effectively and efficiently has to be a good thing.
If we want high-quality and value-for-money public services then we do have to invest in new ways of working.
The question is whether this is the right kind of equipment for the Scottish Government to be investing in right now.
Many in the private sector will see handing out tens of thousands of these devices as an example of public sector largesse, as they continue to do similar work for their employers without the benefit of the latest “must-have” devices.
And the fact that it is iPads or iPad-style devices that we are talking about will polarise the debate because so many of us want to get our hands on one right now.
Laptops will often be more expensive than electronic tablets, but no one will be putting a laptop at the top of their Christmas wish list this year.
We know these tablets are not necessary for teachers and managers in hospitals and prisons to get their jobs done, but will they help them to do their work more effectively and efficiently? Possibly.
Used in the right way, they can for instance make huge savings by cutting down on the need for printing so much paperwork.
But it will take a heck of a lot of saved paperwork to put a dent in £60m.
The Scottish Government needs to spell out clearly and convincingly where it expects to see the benefits from this huge investment before it can expect public support.
‘Tie we all wanted’
Here we go again! Hibs and Hearts drawn together in the Scottish Cup in a what is sure to be a pre-Christmas cracker.
Everything is set for a tense occasion. The staff and players at Hibs have done a magnificent job in bouncing back from the defeat in May and are now riding high at the top of the SPL. Hearts, meanwhile, have every right to be confident given their recent record in Capital derbies.
The only slight disappointment is the draw means we cannot have a repeat of the 2012 Hampden final. However, as Hibs captain Jake McPake said: “It’s the tie we all wanted.”