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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Executive held on 09/11/2006


Drivers for adopting a standard corporate classification scheme

Drivers for adopting a standard corporate classification scheme include:

The Freedom of Information Act – where information is required on any subject irrespective of where it is held or on what media;
Joined-up service delivery, both within the Council and between other public sector service providers;
Internal efficiency gains derived from less officer time spent in searching for documents and files;
Remove the inefficiencies of duplicate storage of information and reduce the risk of inconsistent and out-of-date variants of the same document being held within the organisation; and
Local Government restructuring – Waverley Borough Council is the custodian of the information about its citizens, customers, staff, finance, property, services etc. As such the Council would wish to ensure the integrity of this information in the event of its being assimilated into any new Authority.

Review of the Council’s current Information Management

Cimtech Ltd undertook a review of the Council’s current information management and identified a number of issues including the following:
There is no Council-wide classification scheme;
There is no Council-wide file plan;
There is no Council-wide retention schedule;
Policies and procedures are informal and inexact;
Processes such as the procedures with respect to leavers – to secure information when someone leaves – are outdated or missing;
The ‘print-to-file’ policy is out-moded and increasingly ignored (i.e. not all significant documents are printed out from personal files and filed for shared access);
Tools to help staff manage email are lacking; and
Tools to manage and audit documents and records are lacking;

There is an over-reliance on paper (e.g. 1.4 million photocopies were produced in 2004/05) which is inefficient and error-prone;

The Council’s Microsoft Office documents (there is currently an average of 1,233 Microsoft office documents per member of staff) and email (Waverley staff send a total of just under one million e-mails per annum – there is no record of how many of these are stored within personal folders) are poorly controlled and this situation will get worse until it is confronted;

These systems are not keeping pace with the changing way the Council is working (e.g. increase in electronic service delivery);

These systems ignore important standards which the Government requires public bodies to implement, e.g. the Modernising Government White Paper (which requires Councils to ensure that all new internally created records are stored and accessible electronically);

These systems are poorly equipped to deliver joined-up customer service;

These systems are inflexible and will not respond to the changes which the Council will go through in the coming years; and

These systems are not cost-effective; the Council could save money by adopting new systems.

As a consequence of the above, Cimtech’s report concluded that there is an urgent need for change for the following reasons:
The current systems are failing the Council, its staff and its customers;
The inefficiencies of the current systems are costing the Council money;
The Council is failing to meet many Government standards; and
Any delay in addressing these issues compounds the problems and increases the eventual cost of rectifying.