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Councils move to paperless offices

Councils are increasingly moving to enterprise-wide paperless offices as they seek more efficient and cost effective ways to deliver high quality public services under the current economic conditions, and to assist in combating climate change.

Two councils in South Wales are leading the way – Carmarthenshire and Merthyr Tydfil – are working with Northgate Public Services to deliver enterprise electronic information management services across their councils. And Northgate is urging more public services to adopt corporate wide information management systems in its drive to help transform public services and build public trust.

South Wales is showing positive leadership in embracing the need to change now

Russell Osborne, Managing director of Northgate Citizen Solutions

The councils have tested different electronic document systems on a departmental basis and have decided to move further to deliver improved information management services for their citizens.

The proven outcomes include:

  • freeing up staff time to increase productivity and service quality;
  • enhanced information-sharing to encourage a whole person approach to public services;
  • a reduction in administrative overheads, enabling employees to focus on adding to public value;
  • savings in accommodation and storage costs;
  • regulatory compliance.

According to expert organisations, inefficient use of paper documents amounts to between 20 per cent and 45 per cent of an organisation’s entire labour costs, and the introduction of automated information solutions can increase productivity by 20-30 per cent, and bring about 30-50 per cent savings on desk space.

Councils have experienced dramatic improvement in performance, such as halving the time it takes to process benefits claims, which has contributed to customer satisfaction levels of 98%.

Russell Osborne, Managing Director of Northgate Citizen Solutions said today: “Doing nothing is simply not an option. If councils wish to save resources and improve services they must act now. Otherwise they will count the cost later, at a time when they can least afford it.

“This is not primarily a technology but a cultural issue. It requires leadership at the very top to achieve an organisation in which appropriate information flows effortlessly between the people who need it. This involves the total commitment of senior management, and must have the full engagement of employees throughout the organisation.

“South Wales is showing positive leadership in embracing the need to change now, to transform services, to build public trust and satisfaction. We are proud to be working in partnership with these councils. And over the next year we will be undertaking a concerted campaign to encourage other public sector organisations to drive home the transformation that can occur through automating information management.”

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