Paperless working enables major office
rationalisation at Redbridge
The digitisation of 13m archived documents has allowed Redbridge to reduce office space, enable flexible ways of working and deliver instant access to historical records.
New ways of working
Facing growing demand and reduced budgets, London Borough of Redbridge kicked off a major transformation programme designed to improve efficiency and effectiveness across all service areas.
Agile working was a key goal with laptops replacing PCs and remote working becoming the norm. New accommodation strategies were created to enable this way of working.
The need for digitisation
With basements and warehouses full of historical paper records – some needing to be kept for 100 years – it was clear they needed to go digital. The digitisation would take place in two phases.
Phase 1 would scan and index 13m archived documents across Planning and Children’s Services. NPS worked closely with the teams at Redbridge to plan the programme, taking into account location, sensitivity and size of the departments’ records. It was agreed to scan each page as a searchable PDF and index them in Information@Work - a unique electronic document management system from NPS, which Redbridge has used for Revenues & Benefits since 1997 - as cases rather document types, making information easier to find.
A scan-on-demand service - where any document sent to NPS' purpose-built business centre could be scanned and returned as an electronic record within a few hours - was also included for urgent requests.
The total height of the archive boxes collected during this project would exceed that of six Empire State Buildings. Working with NPS has ensured information held within these documents can be accessed within seconds.
~ Kevin Browne, Systems and Transactional Development Manager, London Borough of Redbridge.
Phase 1 has now completed, on time and to budget. Mistakes in the paper files, such as documents stored with the wrong cases, are corrected at the point of scanning, so the electronic versions are more accurate than their paper counterpart. Redbridge is now also better prepared to meet the requirements of the General Data Protection Regulations when they come into force in 2018.
Looking ahead, Phase 2 will cover the scanning of live files. NPS is providing consultancy support to Redbridge as it plans the completion of Phase 2, and will also create a digital archive for their legal team. The council is also considering a move to the hosted version of Information@Work to deliver further efficiencies.
boxes of archived documents
years working relationship with NPS
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