HEREFORDSHIRE Council has decided it will spend more than £50,000 on new computer software, documents reveal.

Andrew Lovegrove, the council's director for resources and assurance, said Cloudbooking Ltd would be awarded a contract for a room and desk booking, and visitor management solution.

That contract, he said, was worth £53,930, and comes just days after the council agreed to spend almost £100,000 on new meeting room furniture.


It awarded the contract to provide meeting room furniture worth £96,874.68 to Portsdown Office Ltd of Portsmouth.

But Coun Gemma Davies, cabinet member for commissioning, procurement and assets, said in the Herefordshire politics and local democracy Facebook group that the expenditure is “all to do with the move to hybrid working”.

The move will enable the larger Plough Lane rooms “to become multipurpose spaces”, though the council “will retain all good quality furniture and distribute this to the smaller rooms wherever it is needed”, its decision said.

As for the room booking software, Mr Lovegrove said the move to remote and hybrid working as a result of the Covid pandemic meant a room and desk booking system was needed.


A project team looked at four different systems and saw what they offered, but the council also wanted the new system to integrate with email software Microsoft Outlook.

The solution, he said, also needed to have the ability to confirm that a facility that has been booked has in fact been used, that will allow the council to monitor usage.

The current room and desk booking solution available via the intranet, an internal system within businesses, is an in-house developed system which was able to sort basic booking.

But what the council wanted was far beyond that tool's capability, and to develop it would be time-consuming at costly, Mr Lovegrove said.

Following the council's contract procedure rules has lead the council to Cloudbooking Ltd and the £53,930 bill – within the originally estimated cost.

"Developing the existing solution by Hoople was considered however this would require significant resource which would be costly and a

development period which would be outside of the timescales of the Flexible Futures project delivery," he said.