Case Studies

Case Studies

London Borough of Hounslow tested the digital waters with Restore Records Management

The customer

Responsible for almost 290,000 people, London Borough of Hounslow holds a great deal of records. Each one of those records needs to be kept safe and secure to comply with rigorous privacy regulations.

That’s why the council contacted Restore Records Management a decade ago, and we’ve been working with them ever since, using our ultra-secure storage facilities to keep over 16,000 records safe and sound.

So when it came time to consider digitisation, Hounslow Council knew they could rely on our advice and expertise.

Digitisation can be a big job. But the benefits can be bigger, so starting with a small project can deliver those benefits quickly. Which is why Hounslow Council decided to take its first step towards digitisation with Restore Records Management

In recent years, Hounslow Council has started looking into how they could maintain or even improve its level of service while accommodating changing work patterns.

In particular, the council was keen to improve access to its planning records so they could be accessed by multiple people at once and by remote workers too.

The council has already been making good use of our Scan on Demand service, requesting scans as and when they were needed. This ad hoc digitisation had been useful in getting digital files for external stakeholders or gaining instant access to certain records.

But moving from ad hoc digitisation to full blown digital transformation is a huge investment of time and money. Which is why we suggested something a little different.

Rather than dive straight into digitising every file, we worked with Hounslow Council to start with a specific, defined project. This would let the council assess processes, needs, and the return on investment while enjoying the immediate benefits of saving time and money.

So, in September 2023, we collected 28 boxes filled with 2,000 planning records. Many of those records were in a larger format that required extra time and care to properly scan without damaging the originals.

We also agreed to index each plan to capture reference information to help Hounslow Council find plans when it needed them, as well as better understand required retention periods.

This meant there was a lot of work involved in this initial project. But we didn’t leave our customer waiting.

Despite the extra time needed to prepare and index the 2,000 planning records, we completed the job in less than a month.

With this project complete, Hounslow Council is looking towards wider digitisation. Indexing every one of their files, determining its place within its retention policy, destroying what isn’t needed, and scanning what’s left is a big job. But the potential benefits are bigger.

  • 2,000 planning records
  • Completed within a month

“Restore Records Management has been securely storing our records for a decade and the service has been unfailingly fantastic. So it made sense to contact them when we first started thinking about digitising our files. Throughout the project, I was impressed with Restore Records Management speed and care. This pilot has given us confidence in our plans to fully digitise our paper records”.

Matthew Rees, Head of Development Management, London Borough of Hounslow

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