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Paperless office central to council improvement The use of the latest data storage technology to create a real paperless office is among the new developments at a more tech-savvy Eastbourne Council. Changing the way the council works for the better has been a key aim since it was listed as a badly performing council in its 2008 comprehensive area assessment, which delivered the lowest possible score and noted its systems were unfit for purpose.

Speaking to Computing Magazine, deputy chief executive Julian Osgathorpe explained how working with public sector IT specialist Civica has been improving the way the local authority operates. One of the measures has been a project called DRIVE – Delivering Real Innovation and Value for Eastbourne – which Civica became involved with in 2011.

Mr Osgathorpe explained: "At that point, what we engaged with was their electronic document and records management systems [EDRMS], and we used that EDRMS capability to implement agile working, and create the digital working environment,"It's produced a fully paperless, digital office. Now, I know a lot of people say that, but this is genuine. This was 100 per cent paperless by March 2013." Other innovations have included removing "vertical siloes" in the council that preventing it being more customer focused, a move that has seen whole departments axed, such as planning and environmental health.

However, he argued, the efficient storage and use of data – more important than ever at a time when cuts have forced councils to reduce their workforces – could be used more if the data protection rules imposed on the public sector were not so "artificial and kneejerk". If this changed, data contained in the same architecture could be shared by different departments – such as planning alongside council tax, or antisocial behaviour information with environmental health data – the council could provide better services, Mr Osgathorpe suggested.

The improved use of data to make councils more efficient and provide enhanced services is not just confined to Eastbourne. Writing in the Guardian this week, cabinet member for finance at the London Borough of Camden Theo Blackwell said the authority had improved its services by using a "geek squad" to make use of the large amount of information it holds on residents and help use this to formulate appropriate services.

Storetec News/Blogs “�. Paperless office central to council improvement. November 14, 2013. Storetec.

Paperless office central to council improvement