Better access to documents

Victoria’s Baw Baw Shire Council has 400 staff and services a population of just over 39,000 people. Located south east of Melbourne, the Shire comprises a number of towns and villages, rural and rural residential areas.

In 2004, Council found it had 488,000 electronic documents accumulated over 15 years stored across ten shared network drives.

As a result during 2007 Council completed its Better Access To Documents (BATD) project that aimed to improve the record keeping practices of all computer using staff.

“We started with our electronic documents in a silo based mess and have ended with a skilled workforce and a new whole of shire document structure,” said Don Tylee Council’s Manager Business Information.

The key aims of Baw Baw’s Better Access to Documents project included:

  • creating and embedding a new structure for electronic documents
  • increasing staff document management skills
  • documenting the processes and data sets for each business area.

“It is common for computer users to spend 15 to 30 minutes per day just trying to find information required for their work,” Don Tylee said. “If you save just 12 minutes per day you reclaim five work days per year.”

The BATD project involved selecting and training of 12 facilitators from within Council who then engaged with the 20 work teams.

“No consultants or contractors were engaged for this project as this project was about our staff learning new skills and taking up their responsibility in the full information lifecycle,” he said.

“Around 488,000 documents were sorted by their owners, with 64,000 non records deleted and a further 28,000 temporary records relocated for future appraisal and destruction.”

During the 12 month project staff understanding of document management increased from 3.3 to 4.1 (where five is very good).

“Documents are much easier to find and share and there is now an increased understanding across the organisation that document management is not just a business information task,” Don Tylee said.

The project received a commendation at the Sir Rupert Hamer Records Management Awards in 2007.

For further information contact Don Tylee on (03) 5624 2426.