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Government must embrace digital docs

A council manager has said enough people use electronic documents in Government to make it a success and calls for a standard to be set.

Content management

Electronic documents need to become standard across councils and government departments, according to a council manager.

Anne Wright, project manager for electronic content and document management (ECDM) at Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council, admitted that however well it works for them, all councils need to get on board to make it a success.

"There needs to be an agreement for what is accepted. Some councils don't use electronic documentation at all. Electronic documents are legally admissible and this has got to be brought in across the board," she said at an EMC sponsored roundtable in London yesterday.

It is not just local councils, however. Wright said even central Government needs to go digital, noting the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) still demands paper copies rather than accepting digital versions.

Wright believes people at the top of councils are making the decision to avoid digital documents due to personal opinions rather than what is right for the organisation.

She called for a government wide standard to be set so everyone accepts the use of digital documentation, but Mike Davis, a senior analyst at Ovum, warned this had been attempted before.

He noted a standard called ISO/TR 15489, which was brought in by the national archives in 2002. It called for regulation and acceptance of digitised content management, but Davis said: "By now we are so far behind achieving it."

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