The first stage of a council scheme aiming to make piles of paperwork and overflowing filing cabinets a thing of the past has begun.
Preston Council currently prints around five million pages per year and takes up more than 1,500 sq ft of office space with files.
It stores in excess of 1.5 million documents and files in offices, more than four million documents in basements or archives, and keeps five terabytes of electronic documents and records on shared drives.
To combat this problem, it is launching an Electronic Document and Records Management System (EDRMS).
Previously known as Document Image Processing, EDRMS is a facility to scan paper correspondence or import electronic correspondence into a database, which can then be indexed with essential information and automatically routed to a team or individual’s ‘in-tray’ for action.
The ‘metadata’ indexing information makes it easier to find and retrieve documents.
Council members agreed to allocate £260,000 to the project over the next three years in the February budget.
And at a cabinet meeting on Wednesday, they approved the business case for the first phase, costing £60,000.
The system will make use of the 2010 programme, Microsoft SharePoint.
The council currently uses the 2003 edition to host its intranet ‘cityspace’, the authority’s main internal communications system, and this will also be revamped.
Angela Harrison, the council’s governance director, said the EDRMS would help solve problems and make “value for money savings”.