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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Executive held on 09/07/2002
Document Image Processing in Planning



The purpose of this report is to confirm the requirement for back-scanning planning application history files and to seek approval for the allocation of the remaining 30,000 from the IT Capital Programme for Document Image Processing (DIP) for this project.
APPENDIX E

WAVERLEY BOROUGH COUNCIL

EXECUTIVE – 9TH JULY 2002

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Title:
DOCUMENT IMAGE PROCESSING IN PLANNING
[Wards Affected: N/A]
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Summary and Purpose

The purpose of this report is to confirm the requirement for back-scanning planning application history files and to seek approval for the allocation of the remaining 30,000 from the IT Capital Programme for Document Image Processing (DIP) for this project.
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Background

1. At the last meeting of the Executive the second phase of the DIP project in the Planning and Development Department was agreed. This involved scanning all new planning application documents. The subject of back scanning five years worth of history files was raised but further investigation was needed.

Proposal

2. The Council keeps five years worth of application files in hard copy. The benefits of scanning these files were set out in the last report and included the ability to retrieve information electronically from remote locations and the freeing up of valuable office space.

3. Unlike most other files in the Council, the planning files contain a number of large format documents such as plans. This increases the costs of scanning considerably. In March this year, a tender process was undertaken to ascertain the likely costs of scanning history files. A pilot was then tried with the lowest tenderer who was asked to scan around two hundred files. Although satisfactory references were taken up on the company, to date their performance has been poor and your Officers do not recommend continuing to use this company.

4. The Planning and Development Department have used another scanning company in the past, Sixteen 35 Ltd ,who were also competitively priced in the tender process. This company recently scanned all of the decision notices back to 1947 and performed well. However, as the planning application files require a high standard of scanning, particularly the plans and drawings, it is proposed that this company also be given a trial to see if they can perform to the required standards. If the trial is successful, it is proposed that a contract be let with this firm.

Resource/Environmental Implications

5. There remains 30,000 in the IT Capital Programme for DIP. However, the original tender prices suggest that it would not be possible to scan all 13,000 history files for 30,000. Ways of reducing the costs have therefore been examined.


6. The most effective way of reducing costs is by doing a more stringent ‘weeding out’ of any unnecessary documents. In comparison with many other planning authorities, it appears that Waverley has tended to keep more documents. Another way of further reducing costs is to use the summer months to employ students to scan the large format plans on Waverley’s own scanner. By using both these methods it may be possible to scan all the files.

7. In addition to the Capital Programme sum of 30,000, there is a revenue amount each year for microfilming; in 2002/03 this amounts to 3,950. As there is no intention to carry on microfilming, this sum could be used for employing students over the summer holidays.

Recommendation

It is proposed that:

1. the remaining budget allocated to DIP in the IT Capital Programme for 2002/03, 30,000, be used for back scanning planning history files;

2. Sixteen 35 Ltd be given the scanning contract subject to satisfactory performance in a pilot project; and

3. the microfilming budget for Development Control in 2002/03 be used for employing students to assist with the scanning project.

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Background Papers (DoP&D)

There are no background papers (as defined by Section 100D(5) of the Local Government Act 1972) relating to this report.
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CONTACT OFFICER:

Name: Louise Norie Telephone: 01483 523464
e-mail: lnorie@waverley.gov.uk

comms/exec/03/093 28999