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ICT disposal needs more thought

2 August 2007

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Practice managers need to carefully plan how they dispose of personal computers and IT equipment, according to a National Audit Office (NAO) report.

The NAO recommends that managers try to reduce the amount of ICT equipment they purchase by better understanding how their staff use equipment.

Wider environmental costs should also be considered and managers should look at opportunities to use second-hand and reusable ICT equipment.

The report notes that the public sector can make better use of its purchasing power to bring about environmentally beneficial changes in the design and manufacture of ICT equipment.

The NAO found that while there are some areas of good practice, the majority of public bodies have little oversight of their ICT equipment disposal arrangements.

NAO Head Sir John Bourn said: “Government has so far not given enough thought to how it disposes of its computers and related equipment. Growing concerns about the environment and the increasing volumes of equipment mean this issue is becoming more important.

“Government needs to understand better the trade-offs between securing better immediate financial value and the wider environmental costs and benefits associated with the disposal of ICT equipment.”

He adds that the government needs this knowledge should be used to “develop appropriate procurement and disposal strategies.”

National Audit Office