‘Council in a Box’ Promises a Tailored Solution

Published: Tue 15 Mar 2011 04:30 PM
‘Council in a Box’ Promises a Tailored Solution
Christchurch company Information Leadership and South Taranaki District Council (STDC) have formed an enterprising new partnership to share the council’s award-winning information management system with other local authorities. Under the arrangement, Information Leadership will provide its innovative ‘Council in a Box’ technology to councils at a discount, with STDC receiving a royalty for each package sold.
“This partnership means that councils around New Zealand will reap the benefits of a tailored information management solution without incurring the full cost of developing their own system from scratch. At the same time, STDC will see a further reward for the work it has done to help develop the system,” says Sarah Heal, Director, Information Leadership.
‘Council in a Box’ uses the iWorkplace™ features developed by Information Leadership and now in use at over 30 New Zealand organisations. As well as local authorities, this includes government agencies, science organisations, health boards, education, utilities and commercial organisations.
STDC says the new information management system has delivered major benefits for the council.
“Because information can be accessed much more easily, staff spend less time searching for documents and are able to work together in a more integrated way, which ultimately results in better service for ratepayers. We’re very pleased to now be giving other councils the opportunity to realise these productivity gains,” says Pete Sayers, IT Manager, South Taranaki District Council.
Once the council has iWorkplace™ in place, the first step to introduce ‘Council in a Box’ is to install the records management features. This can include the Microsoft SharePoint extension developed by Information Leadership specifically to meet New Zealand’s stringent Public Records Act requirements.
Once the foundation platform is in place this is supplemented by the specific ‘Council in a Box’ designs. This provides all of the designs used at STDC for its various business activities. The deployment of these designs is supported by installation, configuration and training activities to make a council as self-sufficient as it wants to be. Councils that have specific business problems they want to solve, such as contract management, can select a subset of business activities only.
In 2009 South Taranaki District Council won the ALGIM award for Records Project of the Year for its implementation of the new system.
“As well as managing the technical aspects of the implementation, Information Leadership has a strong focus on ensuring that users across the organisation know how to use the new system, so that it is adopted effectively” says Pete Sayers.
Ms. Heal says that other councils have responded very positively to the ‘Council in a Box’ concept.
“Many councils have invested in expensive electronic document management systems in the past that have high ongoing costs and fail to deliver on their promise. ‘Council in a Box’ is proven in the New Zealand local authority environment with the potential to deliver greater value for ratepayers,” she says.

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