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Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 May 2007, 10:16 GMT 11:16 UK
Home Office gives officials iPods
iPod
Senior civil servants will have to return the iPods
Twenty top Home Office civil servants have been issued with video iPods to help improve their leadership skills.

The devices - costing 8,800 in total - are pre-loaded with 50 training films each lasting three to five minutes.

A Home Office spokeswoman said bosses would be able to hone their skills by watching the iPods on the way to work.

The machines, which have to be returned after use, would be "monitored closely" to ensure staff did not watch feature films or listen to music, she added.

When John Reid took over as home secretary last year, he famously used the words "not fit for purpose" while being grilled by MPs about his then crisis-hit department.

'Cost-effective'

The iPod project is part of ongoing efforts to improve the performance of senior civil servants.

The devices are able to hold three days' worth of classroom training material.

The cost of the project, including content updates, will be about 8,800, a Home Office spokeswoman said.

She added: "We are constantly seeking to find the most cost-effective way of providing learning and development across the department....

"As with other modern learning aids, iPods provide the opportunity for flexible learning and the cost is extremely competitive compared with the rates for classroom training for senior staff."

Asked whether staff would be able to load iPods with their favourite music or films, the spokeswoman said: "As with all Home Office IT equipment, the video iPods should be used appropriately, for work purposes, and will be monitored accordingly."

Bonuses

Staff will have to return the devices after using them.

Meanwhile, it has been revealed that Home Office workers were paid 3.6m in bonuses 2005/06, up from 2.1m in 2002/03.

The largest amount given out to a single employee was 15,000.

A Home Office spokeswoman said: "Bonuses reflect individual contributions and are not awarded on the overall performance of the department or its perceived reputation.

"They are also restricted to exceptional performance and achievement."


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