Public Liability Claims Processing Case Study: Donegal County Council

Dealing with public liability claims is an onerous task for local authorities, who must investigate such claims throughout their jurisdiction fairly and thoroughly, often to tight legally enforced deadlines while guaranteeing the security of confidential personal information. Donegal County Council maximised existing investments in SoftCo’s Document Management workflow solution to build an efficient, secure, integrated system to streamline and automate the labour-intensive claims process.

Dublin, Ireland, March 30, 2013 --( Donegal County Council, the local authority for the county, is located in the North West of Ireland with a widely distributed population that is administered from six public service locations, spread throughout the county. Like any local authority, Donegal County Council has to deal with a regular stream of claims made against them by citizens who have suffered personal injury or damage to their property for which the council may be liable.

Claims investigation often requires a visit to a location by an engineer, such visits have to be scheduled, reports have to be written, photographs taken and the necessary documentation forwarded to the main office for the next stage in the process each of which may be in different locations around the county. Furthermore, claims arrive from a variety of sources; from citizens or their solicitors, from the Personal Injuries Board, or the Small Claims Court and in many such cases the Council is legally required to respond within a set time limit.

“The challenge was that if all the files are located in one place, how do you make sure that everybody has access to what they need to deal with their part of the process?” commented Siobhan Foy, Information Systems Project Leader, Donegal County Council. In 2011 Windows Dynamics CRM was implemented as the chosen CRM system within Donegal County Council. For the Public Liability department this enabled all communication with a particular citizen to be logged so that a full history of the council’s interaction with individual claimant can be accessed quickly and easily. However, all supporting documentation was still kept in a hard-copy format so although documents were indexed electronically, accessing and transferring hard-copy files from one office to another were time consuming and laborious.

Donegal County Council’s solution was to integrate Microsoft Dynamics front-end with its existing SoftCo R8 Document Management platform. Through SoftCo’s Web Capture application all documents are scanned at any location and then added to the centrally managed R8 system from where they are instantly accessed by all authorised personnel, wherever they may be. “We were able to add buttons to Dynamics user interface (UI) to allow users sitting at their desk anywhere in the county to import a document from their hard drive into the system where it can be indexed and available to authorised users,” said Siobhan. “The Dynamics integration means claims are now handled quickly and more efficiently.”

An essential element was the security features inherent in the SoftCo system. “Sometimes you are dealing with sensitive documents such as personal medical files which not everybody is entitled to see,” said Siobhan. “The SoftCo system allows us to build in tiered access so that only those who are authorised to see a particular document can access it. The security model is excellent.” Implementing the integrated system was a simple process. “The integration was incredibly painless,” said Siobhan. “Once we had worked out issues with regard to internal access rights the integration was very easy to perform.”

The new features customised for Donegal County Council can also be replicated easily for systems in other departments. “That’s a big plus for us,” Siobhan maintained. “Now that we can index a document with regard to a specific public liability case, we can replicate that functionality for use by a different department very easily.”

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Deirdre Pluck
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