Case Studies

Case Studies

Companies House

Preservation and moving Companies House to Digital First

Sector: Central Government

Founded in 1844, Companies House is the Executive agency of the Department for Business and Trade (DBT) employing 1,000 staff based in 4 offices – Cardiff, Edinburghand Belfast. Companies House are responsible for incorporating and dissolving limited companies, registering the information companies are legally required to supply, and making that information publicly available.

Challenge

Restore Digital were delighted to work with Companies House to digitise over 11,000 roll films with 33 million images. We spoke to Rachel Cooper, Services Manager for the Get Company Information service at Companies House to discuss the project.  

Companies House wanted to ensure the long-term viability of their historical company records, which dated back to the 1970s and 1980s. Their company records were stored as image files on roll films and were coming up to 40 years old, which is the average lifespan for this type of film, unless they are stored in a controlled environment, which these were not. They needed to find a partner experienced in digitisation but also with the expertise and capability to handle aging and potentially fragile roll film.

Restore Digital were the natural choice of supplier due to their long-standing history of digitising a plethora of record types from paper to microfiche. Companies House knew they’d be in safe hands, trusting Restore Digital with such an important and potentially risky project.

Solution

The project kicked off with briefings between Rachel and her dedicated Project Manager at Restore Digital, to agree deliverables for the project. The team received expert guidance on how to pack up the roll film for safe transportation to Restore Digital’s scanning facility in Manchester.

From the outset of the Project Rachel was impressed with the service she received from Andrew and told us:

“Because of the travel restrictions many of our people were still working remotely and a face-to face project kick-off wouldn’t be viable. Instead, our Restore Project Manager Andrew set up a virtual call with the Companies House team in Cardiff, and included training on processing and packing the films. The project really was a strong fit with the strategic goals for Companies House, which is all about brilliant services for customers, and digital first.

Result

As the project progressed, Companies House discovered they had more roll film than initially accounted for, but the team at Restore Digital took an adaptive approach to this and were able to scale up their capabilities to allow for the extra volume and meet their client’s requirements.

A prerequisite of working with Restore Digital is their ability to flex to suit the customer needs – nothing is too much trouble to ensure the highest quality service is delivered.

Having digitised a sample set of roll film, the team at Restore Digital found them to be unstandardised and there were varying levels of quality. To accommodate this, the team decided to run a pilot of scanning 96 roll films, to allow careful quality assurance monitoring and to alleviate any issues before moving to high volume digitisation. In the pilot, they also encountered some complications around the transfer of digital files into Companies House’s preferred data storage platform on Amazon S3. However, this was quickly resolved through a few technical meetings and subsequent testing of transfer and retrieval of files.

Following the pilot, the team moved to a large scale digitisation project, which has resulted in the restoration of historically significant company records.

"There was great communication between our team and the Project Manager And nothing was ever too much trouble. He was always on hand – he provided continuous updates, and we are very impressed with the excellent customer service provided."

Rachel Cooper | Services Manager

Key Facts

  • Digitised over 11 thousand roll films
  • 33,000,000 images.

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