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Friday, 20 July, 2001, 16:45 GMT 17:45 UK
More text please, says council
Mobile phone screen close up
More text sessions are the order of the day
Councillors in Edinburgh have been ordered to start sending text messages on their mobiles rather than making calls.

The edict is part of the council's efforts to cut expenditure on communications.

The new guidelines also recommend councillors instruct their families and colleagues to send them text messages, rather than phoning them while they are abroad.

When they go abroad councillors are told to answer any text message they receive by either calling or texting as appropriate.

mobile phone
The council has drawn up new guidelines

The guidelines follow an investigation into the council's executive for leisure and culture, Steve Cardownie, who rang up a 932.27 mobile phone bill during a council trip to the Ukraine.

Mr Cardownie was forced to pay for the personal calls he made during the trip - some of which cost 2.70 a minute.

Edinburgh City Council finance convener Maureen Child said it did not want to ban mobile phone calls but remind councillors that text messages were sometimes more appropriate.

She said: "It's cheaper to text and if it does the job, it is preferable to calls. Councillors need to think about whether to call, text or use their landline.

Ringing the changes

"Everyone who works for the council must bear cost in mind. They need to ask themselves `do the benefits for the taxpayers outweigh the cost of the call I'm about to make?'.

"We are bringing to their attention different ways of using mobiles and ways of communicating."

A council spokeswoman said: "Text messaging is just one of the areas which are seen as cheaper and cost effective.

"It's never going to replace ordinary conversations, but it is a useful way of getting a short message to someone."

See also:

08 Jun 01 | New Media
BBC aims for txt record
04 Jun 01 | Education
Text messages in war against truancy
16 Mar 01 | Scotland
Text message bullies action call
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