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Home >> Customers >> Success Stories >> Sutherland Shire Council

Sutherland Shire Council - Saving Time with ISYS

Sutherland Shire Council is one of the largest local councils in NSW, in terms of the number of people it serves. It covers 370 square kilometers along the southern coastal border of Sydney and serves a population of 206,000. As would be expected, Sutherland is a very busy council. Around 100 different issues go to council each week and the records of meetings and reports are substantial.

The Council uses ISYS:web to publish ten years worth of Council and subcommittee meetings, policies and decisions, NSW government acts, community directories, lists of voluntary community representatives, and various Council fees and charges via an intranet for an office staff of over 500.

Storing most of their files in MS Word documents, the Council uses the dynamic HTML conversion of ISYS:web to serve the document to the browser. ISYS:web also highlights hits and offers hit-to-hit navigation. Combined with ISYS Rich HTML, which retains the native file format and creates an on-the-fly virtual table of contents, ISYS:web offers instant access to the latest corporate data.

When training new people on the ISYS system, Trevor Rowling, Governance and Systems Support Manager at the Council, often tells the story of the Council's first practical application of ISYS. In 1994, the Council made a decision to form a Community Transport Committee. Ten months later, the person who had put forward the proposal wanted to know what was happening with the committee.

A Director instructed his secretary to find the document relating to that decision. She spent two entire days hunting through reports, to no avail. Finally she went to Trevor, then Senior Administration Office, to ask if there was any way he could help her find the decision. He was testing ISYS at the time and typed in a simple query 'community transport committee' - in less than a second she had the report. "She was ready to hit me," said Trevor. "It was in a report completely unrelated to transport. During a meeting on a completely different topic, someone had raised it at the end and the decision was just tacked onto the end of the report. She would never have found it. ISYS is so good because it is not subject or title based, it relies purely on the text."

Only recently migrating from a networked version of ISYS:desktop to ISYS:web, Trevor says the benefits have increased. Not only is there instant access to information but it's also always current. "An ISYS intranet is a particularly good system for information that is constantly changing," said Trevor. "Like our community information; instead of issuing new paper lists every time there is a change, the person responsible simply updates the document and ISYS does the rest." This system places the burden of currency on fewer shoulders. Instead of every individual maintaining a filing system of the latest version of information, only the person that generates the document has to be up to date and by virtue of the owner of the information being current, everyone else is as well.

"For example," said Trevor. "We have had a few policy changes resulting from the GST. Finance published a policy on petty cash recently and it was really easy. They wrote the policy, saved it, and everyone was immediately aware of what was involved."

The Council intranet also supplies corporate forms such as leave forms, requisitions and templates. Instead of the Council printing thousands of forms, staff simply print them off on a 'need to use' basis.

Accessing information on line also means that the council employees don't need to keep piles of manuals and directories by their desk.

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