Outsourcing digital processes saves time and money for councils

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As a new study reveals that seven in 10 councils find outdated computer systems to be the main barrier to going digital, Data Solutions from PHS discusses how outsourcing workflow management can deliver significant time and financial savings to local authorities.

Councils should consider outsourcing their workflow management processes to an expert that can fully support the process.

A recent survey of 200 local authorities shows that whilst nine in 10 (91%) councils believe that technology will help their organisation to deliver better for less, a massive 72.7% find outdated ICT systems to be the main barrier to the digital process- above even funding.

But for those councils that have started going digital, improvements are already being noted. Six in 10 (60.4%) reported that they have made at least some savings to date through the use of new technology, and of the 16% that were able to quantify this the average savings came in at around £1.5m.

However, Data Solutions from PHS thinks that this figure is just scraping the surface of potential savings; councils could better overcome the barrier of outdated computer systems by outsourcing document scanning and conversion to an expert.

Anthony Pearlgood, Managing Director of Data Solutions from PHS, said: “Eliminating the burden of paper based processes within councils is fundamental if local authorities want to start making savings and improving customer service.

“But because the move to digital can require modern technology, councils should consider outsourcing their workflow management processes to an expert that can fully support the process; Enfield Council is just one example of a local authority which has benefited from outsourcing.”

Enfield Council chose to outsource its invoice processing service to Data Solutions from PHS after highlighting a number of issues with working in-house. The outsourced service included scanning and quality checking all paper invoices, as well as converting electronic invoices to a standard format.

Since outsourcing its workflow management, Enfield Council has made significant savings and greatly improved payment terms to customers. Outsourcing allowed the council to make automated payments, speed up auditing and financial reporting, eliminate invoice backlog and create a council-wide transparency for the invoices.

Anthony Pearlgood said: “The survey shows that the majority of councils in the UK have already started going digital or have plans to do so in the near future, unlocking potentially significant time and financial savings.

“Local authorities looking for support could benefit from Data Solutions from PHS. As one of the UK's leading document capture and document conversion specialists we have the ability, knowledge and expertise to deliver a complete workflow solution for your business- just as we did for Enfield Council.”

Notes for editors

About PHS

The PHS Group is a leading workplace services provider, and has traded in the UK since 1963. It has a diverse service portfolio aimed at improving work and leisure spaces, while making life much easier for facilities, building and people managers.

PHS really does ‘do more than you think’, providing products and services for:

  •     Crate rental and packaging
  •     Interior and exterior planting
  •     Laundry equipment and workwear
  •     Matting and flooring
  •     Records storage and management
  •     Shredding and recycling
  •     Testing and compliance
  •     Washrooms
  •     Waste management
  •     Water machines
  •     Workplace consumables

PHS provides these direct to UK companies, and also operates as a tier one supplier to the facilities management market, supporting the integrated service propositions of most of the major FMs.

The PHS Group’s annual turnover for the year ending March 2012 was £422 million. It employs around 5,000 personnel, operates from a wide network of 153 regional service branches, and takes care of over 250,000 customers at over 450,000 locations in the UK, Ireland, Holland, Belgium and Spain.


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Chloe Hibbert
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