Northumberland County Council

Project Background

Northumberland County Council, a unitary authority in North East England and one of the largest counties in the UK, needed a scanning solution that would digitise 110,000
files, with over 4,200 boxes.

Cleardata won the project through a competitive tender process, with a service that allowed Northumberland County Council to digitise thousands of files in order for them to be electronically available for staff to locate quickly and efficiently.

The documents were scanned from 20 departments within the council, with planning records being the predominant project. Having these files scanned allowed Northumberland County Council to make relevant documents accessible to the public online.

Cleardata was chosen to complete this project due to the security of our premises, high quality processes and business certifications. Cleardata is certified to Cyber Essentials, ISO9001 for Quality Management and ISO27001 for Information Security Management.

The Solution

The documents were a collection of sizes, ranging from A1 large format drawings to A4 files, including microfiche and microfilm. Cleardata scanned the 110,000 various sized documents using Kodak i5850S scanners that are able to process documents with different types, sizes and weights quickly and easily, in order to deliver a high document scanning productivity.

As Northumberland County Council had a large volume of files that needed to be retained for a certain period of time, digitising records saves valuable office space and offers a simpler and faster searching process.

Due to there being multiple types of documents from various locations, it was imperative that the relevant documents were scanned and filed appropriately. Cleardata thoroughly organised and sorted through the documents, ensuring only relevant material needed to be scanned and was sorted into sections to make the files easy to identify.

Throughout the project and during the digitisation process, Northumberland County Council required full access to their documents held at Cleardata’s facility, with at least 100 retrievals being made per month. This was used through the company’s scan on demand service, enabling the relevant paperwork to be scanned and securely returned to the customer within two hours.

The council’s team also visited the company’s bureau to conduct training on their different types of documentation. Cleardata’s index team were very happy to work closely with Northumberland County Council throughout the preparation and scanning process in order for it to be completed successfully. This is a helpful part of the process in large scale projects with complex document types that require thorough knowledge.

Client Feedback

“Cleardata have an efficient and effective team of dedicated staff who are passionate about the high quality service they provide. All scanning carried out by Cleardata has been of a high standard. They have dealt with a variety of formats and documents of different quality – some of which have been delicate, or very worn and fixed with tape yet still managed to achieve a high quality image.

The scanning bureau in Blyth is fantastic – the site is highly secure and documents are tracked via a barcode system which instils confidence that documents are protected and can be located quickly.

This system alongside the scan on demand service means the turnaround of file requests are timely and services have access to all of their records regardless of their physical location.

Cleardata have supported us with intelligent preparation of documents. This involved a member of NCC staff visiting the bureau and providing specific training on document types and allocating an action to each. For example, scan or destroy based on the NCC retention schedules. As documents requiring indexing have mainly been historic and date prior to 2009, it is often district authority documentation; the same document type can look very different from one district to the next making it slightly more difficult to sort. This process is a vitally important one, whereby potentially we are destroying data so we had to be confident that the process was accurate. The scale and accuracy combined could not be achieved in house.

The quotes versus actual costs have always been accurate. With historic materials that have not been regularly accessed, there is always the fear that documents are not consistent and sometimes volumes of large and small format are unpredictable from one box to the next. On a scale this large, to be extremely accurate with volumes and pricing is really impressive.

Throughout all stages of scanning communication of volumes and budget has always been proactive. Any unforeseen issues or document types have always been flagged at the point of being found which has been beneficial to the teams so that we can advise accordingly on the variance. This approach means that an open and honest relationship has been developed and we can categorically say Cleardata are a trusted supplier.”

Project Officer, Northumberland County Council