Proposals to tighten up security around a Government online network could land the county council with an IT bill running into more than £2 million.

Hertfordshire County Council will have to make staff undergo new security checks and issue more than 1,000 new laptops as part of reforms to the public service network.

The network allows government agencies and local councils share data, some which is highly sensitive such as social and child care services.

Last year announced the Government announced it was beefing up security around the system by raising the standards organisations needed to meet to remain accredited to use it.

Councils which fail to meet these new standards have been threatened with disconnection.

The new regime will mean that accredited council staff will not be able to access the network from private computers or devices and will not be able to forwards emails to personal accounts.

Under the current plans the county council will have to replace 1,024 laptops at an estimated cost of £1.2 million over four years and then more than £1 million in additional support costs. It also faces a £26,500 annual bill to furnish more than 200 staff whom access the network from personal devices with new approved smart phones.

On top of the extra hardware costs, the council will also have to foot a bill running up to around £200,000 for staff to undergo new security checks for the system.