Quick and efficient response to requests for information

The Warwickshire police force handles a community of 546,500 people, with a 2000-strong workforce. They manage the same number of freedom of information requests that any other county police get.

Quick and efficient response to requests for information

The Warwickshire Police Force receive daily requests related to Freedom of Information, Data Protection Act, Environmental Information Regulations, and other Sharing of Information requests. These tasks are often complicated as the required information is stored in multiple locations, both physically and electronically. 

Due to fiscal pressure, there was not much financial backing from the UK Government. Manual methods used by the Warwickshire police force became unsustainable.

In 2011, the Warwickshire Police Force brought in CSDC's case management system, AccessPro Suite.
The idea was to change everything manual to an electronic, paperless, integrated system. This would be used to manage requests, track cases, and update citizens on their complaints.

CSDC installed the system and trained the force while on duty.

Handling requests is automatic, centralized and paperless.
Before CSDC, the Warwickshire Police Force handled all paper information manually. Now, the new system handles the information automatically.

The system tracks cases, reports and optimizes resources. As everything is centralized, storing and retrieving data became simpler. Data was categorized, and messaging staff and citizens was auto-generated, allowing the force to save time, and reduce costs otherwise used in paper, and couriers.

Simple for citizens to place requests.
Citizens didn't call, or visit the station, to place a request. They simply logged into the website and placed requests by filling and submitting a form, resulting in fewer calls for requests.

Disclosing information becomes automated.
The system has its own process of recognizing exemption points from official information before releasing it to the public. The systems take care of the document editing, captioning, indexing and status checking.

Every request is answered and justified.
On multiple occasions, the requestor is not satisfied with the response received. The rquesters then files an appeal, in which the force must build a defense. In Warwickshire’s case, they used AccessPro to quickly justify their decisions. This shows the precise actions they took to produce the response, automatically tracked by the system.

An appeals process that formerly required days of effort to fulfill is now reduced to a matter of hours due to the log audit. It became simple to update citizens on Freedom of Information details. Warwickshire police proactively release updates on their website, allowing citizens to access the website to review updates on requested Freedom of Information requests.

The system helps Warwickshire Police Force adhere to deadlines.
The system's sophisticated case deadline management and accounting facilities help the department to coordinate the effort and stay on top of the job. The system tracks the case costs, providing Warwickshire with the option to recover the expenses associated with processing a request.

In conclusion, process time reduces substantially. This allows the department to concentrate more on completing the accumulated backlog. As costs reduce drastically, the system saves the force several thousand British Pounds that covers the annual cost of the solution.

Quick Stats

Population
Under 2000 officers serving a population of 546,500 people.


Challenge
Receives a large number of Freedom of Information (FOI) requests.
Involves Data Protection Act, Environmental Information Regulations and other Sharing of Information requests. Manual methods become unsustainable.
The team needed a solution to ensure that the department could keep up with the influx of requests within the legislated timeline


Solution
AccessPro Suite for FOI/ ATI management.


Conclusion
The Warwickshire Police Force streamlines their process and continues to function well, despite being short-staffed and under significant budget pressure.
The solution has proved to be, at a minimum, net zero-cost when the labor, storage, consumables and legal fee savings are taken into account.
Turn-around times for request-responses have been reduced, thus allowing the department to concentrate on the backlog accumulated.

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