West Berkshire go “paperless”

West_Berkshire_council-logoWest Berkshire Council Housing team has gone “paperless” using LHS systems.

An estimated 80,000 documents linked to more than 5,000 housing applicants have been scanned and loaded in the LHS back office.

Housing staff went live with the new system in April 2011 and are now enjoying a massive reduction in the storage space required for paper files (and time spent searching for them), savings in photocopying and printing, savings in staff time entering paper applications as well as greater potential for hot-desking and flexible working (including working from home) as all documents are available on-line.

The first part of the project was to set up a “full-contact manager” system of working using the LHS Homeless Prevention Advice module.

Anyone who approaches the council has a Homeless, Prevention and Advice (HPA) or Choice Based Lettings (CBL) record made and those that want to apply to the Housing Register are encouraged to apply on-line. Any paper documents are scanned and attached to the Journal and then shredded.

Additional enhancements include a digital signature on the letter generator and a counter to record those enquiries that didn’t result in a client record being made or updated.

The Journal was also upgraded to allow entries to be categorised, searched and filtered. Paper files are no longer created for members.

The second part of the project involved scanning and uploading all the paper files that already existed.

A separate company, working closely with LHS to ensure file compatibility of the documents, scanned the documents and passed the electronic data to LHS. The documents were then bulk uploaded into the Journal and applicants then had their old paper file attached to their CBL Journal as a pdf. The paper files were shredded.

Staff logged in on a Monday morning to find all the Journal entries in place and all the old paper files instantly viewable at the click of a button. No more searching in dusty filing cabinets for paper files!

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