The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), which receives in excess of 65,000 applications a year from European citizens and that generates half a million letters that need to be signed, printed and posted, has created their own workflow management systems that has helped them improve efficiency and cut costs by implementing a digital signature solution.
The new workflow management system is based on Microsoft’s SharePoint Workflow Foundation whilst the digital signature solution, a key part of the system, is CoSign from ARX. The new workflow system is also linked to their OpenText electronic document management (EDM) system, which resides within the Court Management Information System.
John Hunter, head of their IT department, said: “We had over 65,000 applications last year and with that there was loads of correspondence. The registrars had to sit and sign these letters. Now everything is done by workflow. We use the application number to identify who the relevant lawyer is, and it automatically creates the workflow route when we identify the lawyer.”
The new system has help cut many of the manual tasks previously carried out, and reduce the amount of paper going through the office. In addition, as the electronic documents are in a PDF format, they are able to store and archive them within the EDM system.
Hunter said that the biggest cost saving has been postage, adding: “Not all applicants have email, but I would say that if we sent 50% of the half a million letters electronically, if you think about the cost of a postage stamp, you’ve got an immediate ROI.”
By Allie Philpin