â€œNick Herbert, Tory minister for policing and justice until last summer, claimed that he had been better supported in Opposition; indeed, he said, the â€œsheer clunkinessâ€ of the Whitehall system was revealing. Officials sent him proposals by email, but then printed them off to put in his ministerial red boxes. These should have followed him by car, so he could work on them overnight, but â€œthere werenâ€™t any carsâ€. He decided to use his iPad â€“ but was told this was banned â€œbecause the Chinese might be listening inâ€. He found it hard to believe that China was terribly interested in our policing policy.â€
The astonishing figure of Â£50,000 has been spent by the government on ministerial red boxes in the last few years, as has been revealed by answers to questions asked by Lib Dem MP John Hemming.
Some red boxes cost up to Â£750, although others costs less than half this.
The Government Digital Service has its work cut out for it – surely even an iPad with extra encryption / management software wouldn’t cost that much money! I don’t know how much has moved on in the last 7 years but if they had rolled out iPads I’m sure we’d have heard about it, and there’d be more ministerial red boxes on eBay!