Council reaps cost and workflow benefits of record sharing roll-out

Smart projects: North Warwickshire improves data sharing across key departments

North Warwickshire Borough Council has implemented a new electronic document and records management (EDRM) system to cut costs and facilitate the sharing of information between departments.

The council ripped out a 12-year-old EDRM system in its revenues and benefits department so that it could implement the Trim Context application from Tower Software.

Council IT project officer Trudi Barnsley said, "We became frustrated with [the legacy system's] ongoing costs and limited functionality. The system just wasn't flexible enough for extended information sharing across the council's divisions.

"Getting the right information to the right people at the right time is reaping enormous rewards in terms of service delivery and cost savings from streamlined processes."

A workflow application from software supplier Singularity has been implemented alongside the EDRM to allow the council to automate some of its business processes.

The workflow package links Trim Context with North Warwickshire's core applications, including an SX3 planning application from Northgate, a housing management system from IBS, and an Academy council tax application from Capita.

The EDRM system is also used to manage unstructured information, as well as documents created in ­Microsoft Office.

North Warwickshire has integrated the application with its Oracle-based land and property gazetteer to create links between documents and records and locations in the gazetteer. When all the links have been established, this should cut the time taken to conduct searches against properties.

Trim Context went live in the council's revenues and benefits department earlier this autumn. Council officers already use it in facilities management (where it was piloted), fraud prevention, housing management and maintenance, and the legal department.

The council will roll out the system to its remaining services during 2007. Concessionary travel will be the next function to get Trim Context, followed by board reports, central support services, community development, finance, human resources, policy, and procurement.

The system, which is helping the council meet targets set under the government's Gershon Review of public sector efficiency, cost £190,000 and will be used by 300 council officers when it is fully ­deployed.

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