Surrey Police is the territorial police force responsible for policing the county of Surrey in South East England.
With its headquarters located in Guildford, the police force currently has just under 2,000 officers employed across 10 divisions. These include Police Constables, Detective Constables, Sergeants and Inspectors amongst others. As well as the police officers, Surrey Police also employs a number of office workers, bringing the total number of employees to nearly 4,000.
Like most Public Service Organisations involved in law enforcement, Surrey Police have to handle and manage significant amounts of paperwork on a daily basis, all of which must be processed, stored and/or destroyed in a compliant manner.
One particular type of document that Surrey Police handles is their Occupational Health (OH) files. The main objectives of these documents are to identify and help prevent illnesses caused by work, to improve and maintain the health of the workforce to the mutual benefit of both employee and employer and to advise on the fitness of an employee to do their job.
Every police officer and member of staff with Surrey Police have their own OH file, starting with the medical and health check they undergo when they first join and they will continually be monitored and updated throughout the duration of their career with the force.
For several years, these OH files were stored physically in cabinets at the Surrey Police HQ in Guilford. However, without a proper document management system in place, these documents quickly began to accumulate over time, taking up unnecessary office space. Finding information also proved to be a time-consuming process for the Surrey Police team, reducing productivity as a result.
Liz Eades, Head of Occupational Health and Wellbeing at Surrey and Sussex Police, explains why it was time for a change.
“We originally had a completely paper-based system in place, where everything was hand-written by staff and stored on-site in our offices in large filing cabinets.”
“It was a problematic system as things could easily go missing, items would get misplaced and overall it was just a time-consuming experience. Maintaining several thousand files using this system was not ideal in this day and age!”
“We decided to move to a computer Occupational Health software system called Cohort which would allow us to view all our documents online. As the files needed to be uploaded electronically to the system, we required a scanning service to help transfer our files from physical to digital format.”
Through a third-party referral, Lightspeed (now Kefron) were recommended to complete the work as they have many years’ experience in secure document conversion.
“The system that Surrey Police had in place was causing their team a real headache” explains Andy Forward, Kefron UK Sales. “They needed an efficient document management system in place to help ensure they kept their confidential information safe.”
“Our systems and processes comply with ISO 27001 for information security management, demonstrating our compliance with industry regulations including data protection, privacy and IT governance. Therefore, we were confident that we could supply Liz and her team with a secure data and capture solution, that could bring real benefits to their business.”
SOLUTION & PROCESS
Before work could begin, each member of the Kefron Scanning Bureau’s team had to be vetted by the police. Due to the nature of the information that Kefron would be working with, Surrey Police wanted to ensure that the service provided would meet their standards and that all relevant staff would handle the information appropriately. During this initial preparation period, Liz and the Information Security Manager of Surrey Police also inspected the premises to ensure all information would be securely held and managed throughout the duration of the project.
“While this was no doubt frustrating for the Kefron guys as it was a time-consuming process, they were very cooperative throughout this stage and were very helpful in responding to all of our queries” explained Liz.
Once all Kefron employees were successfully vetted (to MPP Level 2), the conversion work could begin.
The Kefron Logistics team arrived at the Surrey Police HQ and collected all the required OH documents, which were decanted into lidded crates and secured with numbered tags.
The loaded crates were then transferred to Kefron’s offices where the Scanning and Capture team inspected the tags and ensured the correct files were present. If any anomalies existed, then Surrey Police were contacted.
Kefron used Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology to digitally extract the information and upload the images to a hard drive which was then sent to Surrey Police. Surrey Police then hand-delivered the hard drive to the Cohort team who uploaded the information onto the system. This was done for security purposes.
Once all documents were scanned, they were returned to Surrey Police who destroyed them themselves.
During this process, Liz visited the Kefron premises to review the work. She was impressed that the Kefron team carried out continuous quality checks during the process to ensure no errors were made. “As I am the one who is legally responsible for these medical documents, I was happy to see the level of care and attention that Kefron gave to each document.”
10 crates were collected every 2 weeks and this process continued for 3-4 months until all OH files were successfully transferred from paper to digital format.
With the OH files now being hosted on their Cohort system, Surrey Police enjoy instant access to the information from the comfort of their desk, saving them huge amounts of time.
“Being able to access the information from multiple locations is a huge plus for us” commented Liz. “Even simple things like, no longer having to carry the physical documents from one part of the building to another, has saved us a huge amount of admin time, as people can now just retrieve the file from their computer.”
The increased security has also been a huge benefit for the team. With such confidential information involved, Surrey Police now have peace of mind, knowing that all documents are safely backed up and no longer in danger of being lost to disasters such as floods or fires.
Surrey Police are now more compliant with the upcoming GDPR, as they can securely and quickly locate an individual’s Personally Identifiable Information (PII) from the electronic documents and have a complete audit trail of their documents.
Liz also notes the excellent quality of the scanned images they received. “The quality of the documents is much better compared with some of the other scanned items we have previously received from other third-party providers, which is good for when we need to print off a physical copy.”
A strong working relationship was quickly formed between Surrey Police and Kefron, with Surrey Police returning 12 months after the initial project with more work for Kefron to process. While the scale of this project was smaller, it showed the trust that had developed.
Such was the confidence of Surrey Police in Kefron’s abilities, that in the follow-up project, Kefron were entrusted to directly upload the images to the Cohort system. Kefron also securely destroyed the paper records on behalf of Surrey Police on this occasion.
“Kefron recognised the sensitivity of the police files from the first batch of work so I knew they would handle the information correctly for the second project as well” explains Liz.
Overall Liz was delighted with the excellent customer service she received. “Kefron was very helpful throughout the project work. During the initial project, when we had given them all our OH files, they were very quick to respond to us when we urgently requested a file at short notice.”
“Kefron was very good at communicating with us so I knew exactly what was happening, where the files were, what they will be doing. I could visualise every part of the process. I would have no hesitation in recommending them and I will probably use them again in the future.”