Birmingham City Council
"The key benefits achieved resulting from this project were mainly due to CDIS’ attention to detail and vast experience in this field, together with excellent communications between CDIS, Birmingham City Council and Service Birmingham."
Steve Borg, Service Development - Document Manager, Economy Directorate, Birmingham City Council
- Communications in - scanning & archiving
- Part of Capita's council-wide transformation programme which aims to deliver more than £290m in savings by March 2021
Birmingham City Council’s planning department maintained an storage facility solely for the purposes of managing and storing all hard copy planning applications made between 1996 and 2005 (some 60,000 paper files). By 2013, the cost of running this storage facility was steadily increasing, leading to the Council to take the decision to vacate the premises and explore new ways of working.
Birmingham City Council asked Capita document & information services (CDIS) to provide a cost-effective solution to digitise these files and covert them to a format that could be easily incorporated into their existing EDMS (Electronic Document Management System) and made accessible to Council staff at the click of a mouse.
Working in partnership
CDIS worked with Birmingham City Council to ensure the solution was as cost effective as possible by balancing the cost of digitisation against the need for ongoing access. Documents which were not referred to on a daily basis such as non-critical and withdrawn applications were not scanned. In addition, the Council set out a number of pre-requisites for CDIS to follow when converting paper files:
- A combination of Black & White and colour images
- A DPI that balanced the Council's digital space capacity with a good quality image
- A PDF format to ensure the output is readable across multiple devices
- Fully OCR (Optical Character Recognition) indexed to enable users to search for key text phrases within the documents
All files were packed on site and a full manifest created electronically, meaning that every file collected could be accounted for and ensured that the chain of custody was maintained as part of a secure end-to-end process.
To further strengthen the controls in place, CDIS deployed secure point-to-point transport to uplift the files from their location in Birmingham to the CDIS processing facility. Once on site the files were reconciled against the manifest before being sent for careful preparation by our skilled operators and subsequent digital conversion.
CDIS’ utilised industry-leading technology to create the digital images of the paper documents.The software was configured to BCC's specific needs and was uniquely defined to fit the capture, workflow, and output requirements, resulting in consistently high-quality document image and index packages. Our innovative solution ensured that Council staff have instant access to digital planning files and helped to put the customer at the heart of the planning process.
CDIS’ attention to detail ensured we were able to transform the way the Council’s planning department operates, by improving services and efficiencies to meet the needs of their customers.
Capita have delivered a number of benefits, including:
- Increased staff productivity
Staff are free to spend more time on core activities, rather than waste it searching for, transporting and replacing physical files
- Reduced costs
Converting paper documents in to digital files and reducing the need to store them in expensive Council real estate
- Channel shift
PWC found that the cost of conducting business on-line was less than 1% of dealing with customers face-to-face or on the phone.* Scanning these documents helped to faciliate the Council's goal of a reduction in paper transaction processing
- Easily accessible
The public are legally obliged to have access to some planning information which the Council now has instantly available, also reducing the cost of physical retrievals
- Enhanced processes
A one-stop-shop for the Council’s information management needs with CDIS’ proven track record in delivering innovative, responsive and flexible solutions to five industry standards
- Reduced carbon footprints
Files are no longer required to be transported to and from the storage facility reducing both transportation costs and the Council’s carbon footprint
- Full end-to-end management of files transfer from physical to digital
- Availability of critical business documents for business continuity and disaster recovery
- Accurate, secure and cost effective document management
- Increased efficiency, agility and speed of response to enquiries made by the public
Delivering future efficiencies
Capita continues to support Birmingham City Council and is dedicated to delivering ongoing transformation through technology and process innovation. Capita is pleased to support Birmingham City Council with current and future needs.