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DLR County Council

Digitalising local Government’s FOI process

“The FOI system is an excellent example of how we can use existing technologies and platforms to deliver real and meaningful solutions that drive greater efficiency and returns on investment.”

Stephen Brady

Head of IT, Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council

Project at a glance

Industry:

Local Government

Technology practice:

Software Development

Challenge:

To provide citizens with the right to access official records, check all personal information held on them, and be given reasons for decisions taken by all public bodies that affect them.

Technology products:

PowerApps, SharePoint, Microsoft’s Common Data Model

Business transformation delivered:

  • Greatly enhanced the customer experience
  • Reduced costs for DLR
  • All FOI requests can now be registered, assessed and responded to in a streamlined highly automated system
  • Users can monitor performance and ensure that the organisation responds to the requests within the legal time-frames mandated
  • Simplified user training requirements

Challenge

Provide citizens with the rights to access official records on them

Freedom of Information (FOI) legislation has been in Ireland for over 10 years. The Act obliges all government departments and public bodies to provide citizens with the rights to access official records, to check all personal information held on them, and the right to be given reasons for decisions taken by all public bodies that affect them. Managing the Lifecyle of a FOI request made to a local authority under this legislation was proving to be a difficult, onerous task and the process was semi-automated, inefficient and difficult to track.

Approach

An innovative solution using Microsoft Dynamics CRM, PowerApps and SharePoint.

Client Solutions were engaged to investigate possible solutions that would leverage DLR’s investment in Office 365. Following an initial analysis phase, Client Solutions proposed an innovative solution using Microsoft Dynamics CRM, PowerApps and SharePoint. The proposed solution allowed citizens to register requests under the Act. Once registered, the request would be routed through a workflow engine where the request would be assessed, managed, processed and replied to in a highly efficient and accountable manner. DLR stakeholders worked with Client Solutions to ensure that the solution would meet all FOI requirements and that the solution was sufficiently generic to be rolled out to other public bodies. DLR commissioned Client Solutions to develop and deliver the solution as specified.

Results

A fully traceable system that allows all FOI requests to be registered, assessed and responded to.

DLR now has a fully traceable system that allows all FOI requests to be registered, assessed and responded to in a streamlined highly automated system. Requests are validated and then routed within the organisation to the relevant departments. All steps are fully audited. A suite of management reports allow users to monitor performance and ensure that the organisation responds to the requests within the legal time-frames mandated.

The solution uses Microsoft’s Common Data Model to store all request related data. The workflow requirements were delivered using PowerApps. SharePoint provided the document management capabilities. The system has proved to be a huge success. It has reduced costs for DLR, simplified user training requirements and greatly enhanced the customer experience.

“The FOI system is an excellent example of how we can use existing technologies and platforms to deliver real and meaningful solutions that drive greater efficiency and returns on investment.”

Stephen Brady

Head of IT, Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council