Herefordshire Council was interested to know more about using the edoc system, so contacted FCC Environment, the waste and resource management firm that operate their commercial waste collection services. With over 1,000 trade customers, FCC Environment have been using edoc for over a year and were keen to help and demonstrate the system along with the benefits it could bring. Herefordshire Council has now decided to use edoc to save both resources and money.
Why has Herefordshire Council moved to edoc?
Prior to edoc, Herefordshire council had provided paper waste transfer notes to their trade waste customers on carbonated paper. Three copies were provided; one to the customer, one to the collection contractor and one for the council’s own records. The council asked customers to complete these when they set up a new contract, then on an annual ‘season ticket’ basis during the collection contract. Customers returned these to Herefordshire, where they were checked and validated, scanned and attached to the customer files in their electronic system. Subsequently the customer’s copy was posted back to them with a letter.
For both the council and FCC, using edoc looked like it would greatly reduce the bureaucratic burden associated with this process.
Edoc was introduced in parallel with the introduction of electronic copies of contract documents which could also be emailed to Herefordshire customers instead of posted. Previously, a paper copy of the Waste Transfer Note would have been sent to customers each year before April 1st. This change has reduced postage costs to both the council and its customers, reduced the amount of time needed to set up a contract (as this can all be turned around in one day instead of waiting for post), negates the need for scanning as well as saving paper.
How did Herefordshire Council go about moving to edoc?
Herefordshire Council’s approach to integrating edoc was simple. They produced a guidance document for customers, providing a step-by-step outline of how to complete the set-up process and create an edoc account. This guidance was sent out to customers in February 2016 with the annual notification of price changes. In addition, the council provided help to customers by telephone during the transition period.
Herefordshire Council completes a checking process to ensure that businesses are completing the Waste Transfer Note form correctly. For example, it is necessary to ensure that users have listed FCC, the Council’s collection contractor, as the Transferee instead of the Council, who are the broker.
“Using edoc already reduces paper and postage costs for all parties involved. In addition, the edoc system should almost eliminate document scanning and in the long-term should result in saved time for officers, contractors and businesses.”
How has edoc helped?
By June 2016, approximately one third of Herefordshire Council’s customers have completed their Duty of Care online. More customers are using edoc each day with the council now contacting customers to ensure that they all use the system and are complying with the law.
The council still allows the handful of businesses that wish to continue using paper Waste Transfer Notes, but has introduced a £10 administration fee to cover the additional cost of resources and time that use of edoc would normally save.
Using edoc already reduces paper and postage costs for all parties involved. In addition, the edoc system should almost eliminate scanning and in the long term should result in saved time for officers, contractors and businesses. Next year, the council’s customers should simply be able to copy their existing Waste Transfer Note, assuming no changes have occurred, and sign it off, with the collection contractor doing the same.
Looking to the future and after using the system Nicola Percival, Herefordshire Council’s Team Leader – Waste Operations, said, “We have been able to make suggestions for possible improvements to the edoc system. All suggested changes are assessed by the edoc team for future updates to the system which we hope will help others choosing to use the system in future.”
We spoke to Chris Griffiths, Technical Support Manager at FCC Environment, who explains how they helped Herefordshire Council to make the change to edoc:
“In preparation for the transition, the edoc test system was used to ensure the right procedures were in place and to ensure the system worked as expected. The edoc test system is a great way to develop your own system and procedures without completing transfers on the live system and can be used at any time.”
“From the outset we worked with Herefordshire Council to demonstrate edoc and the benefits it could bring. In preparation for the transition, the edoc test system was used to ensure the right procedures were in place and to verify that the system worked as expected. The edoc test system is a great way to develop your own system and procedures without completing transfers on the live system and can be used at any time. With the help of FCC, the council decided to work towards using edoc for all of the trade wastes collected by FCC Environment.
Now that Herefordshire Council’s trade customers are using edoc, FCC receives emails of newly completed transfer notes to check and sign. Multiple notes are now being completed at the same time using a simple pin number.
The use of edoc on this important collections contract has given FCC much better visibility and control of transfer notes which was difficult before, with over 1000 paper transfer notes. Each year, levels of uptake from businesses and organisations will increase, saving more paper, time and cost”.
If you are interested in using edoc in your own council, please contact us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.