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Essex County Council

With over 8,000 employees, Essex County Council (ECC) is the second-largest local authority in the country and provides Adoption and Fostering services to over 1.7 million people of Essex as part of its Health & Social Care service. Delivering this service to so many people generates a large volume of paper but due to a focus on spend there is very little space to accommodate.

What was our client looking for?

As a major provider of a outsourced services to local government in the UK, representatives from our document management business were invited by Essex County Council (ECC) to take a look at the problems facing their Adoption Services department. We were tasked with analysing what options were available to (a) eliminate the growing backlog of un-scanned files and (b) capture and make available to Adoption Services all incoming new files.

How did we help?

Offering a comprehensive document capture solution for both the backlog and daily new files did not present an issue. Operating an ISO27001- compliant fully secure, access controlled, purpose built facility, equipped with the latest scanning technology, we are able to provide a secure, flexible and robust document capture infrastructure.

ECC’s Adoption Services accepted the proposed solution and contracted us to begin the project, starting with the backlog that had built up. Boxes of closed case files were transported to our facilities for sorting, scanning and indexing. Each batch consisted of 50 boxes, each containing approximately 50 case files, with a typical case file consisting of around 200 pages.

The results

David Humphreys, IS Business Officer for Essex County Council commented by saying;

'We did some initial testing of Mitie's capture process using sample case files. We were especially concerned about image quality, as many of the documents are handwritten notes taken at adoptee interviews, plus things like birth certificates that are physically difficult to scan. In addition, given the highly confidential nature of these files and the associated legal requirements of care, we also wanted to fully understand Mitie's approach to security throughout the whole process of collection, capture and delivery of the files back to the Council. We were very pleased with the results Mitie were achieving on both of these aspects and gave the go-ahead to begin the project.'

Ian Stevenson, General Manager for our processing and distribution centre, spoke about the advantage of using the IBML scanning Hardware for the project: 'One clear advantage of using the IBML scanners for the document capture operation is their Zonal Capture capability. Zonal Capture is the ability to designate an area of a document that contains key indexing information and then use the OCR capabilities from the software to automatically identify document classes and create the indexing information that is used to store and later retrieve the individual PDF from each case file. This has two distinct advantages, one being the accuracy and relevance of the data attached to each document image and secondly the reduction of time and manual effort required to process case file batches'.

The deliverables that ECC wanted from Mitie were, for each case file, a collection of PDF files, one for each document in the case file, plus an Excel spreadsheet containing a case file index file which each PDF containing up to six index data fields for documents plus a hyperlink to the associated PDF file containing the document images. Once these files were uploaded on to the Council's network they were immediately available to the Adoption Services group by accessing the relevant Excel spreadsheet and clicking through the hyperlink to the required document image file.

Services undertaken

On-site services