London’s Bi Borough Shared Legal Services is a partnership between Westminster and Kensington & Chelsea councils. The two councils share departments to take advantage of economies of scale and to be more effective. One such department is the legal division, where they cover numerous different practice areas from childcare and highways to S106 agreements and property. With such a large amount of work & sensitive data between both councils, they felt they needed to update their case management system so it could manage the big workloads as well as providing a high level of security.
Before going live with Access Legal in 2018, Bi Borough had been looking at different case management systems for over two years until they chose Access Legal's. They had started the search for a case management system after recognising that their existing system had become outdated for the high levels of work they were doing. They knew that they needed a system that had an integrated accounts function, could increase efficiency and have high levels of security. All of which Access Legal had and more.
It was appealing that Access Legal offered a system with fully integrated accounts as the other option for Bi Borough was to form an ABS (Alternative Business Structure). Access Legal was one of the few suppliers that fully knew local authority accounting needs and had software tailored to suit them. As an example, the governance levels are more stringent than private working. Additionally, they needed automated monthly billing that gave users access to low level and detailed information about the bill and time expended. Access Legal’s software met all these needs well.
The security provided in Outlook Office was also a key reason as to why Bi-Borough chose Access Legal. Being a legal division in the local council means that they need a high level of security. By having the product penetration tested to the highest standards with ISO 27001:2013 accreditation became an extremely attractive feature which was essential to their case management system.
Bi Borough went live with Access Legal in May 2018. The preparation time after signing contracts allowed multiple different tasks to happen. Bi Borough firstly took the opportunity to carry out a great deal of spring cleaning with their existing software system so the data that was transferred was clean.
Practice Manager, Amanda Goodall said, "We had different tasks to complete before we could go live. With the help of Access Legal we were able to de-duplicate matters and files and clean our data prior to migration. This way, our data could be organised in a structure that allowed our users to use up to date and relevant templates and precedents."
"The Access Legal team gave us constant support with this. They ran both test conversions and final conversions ensuring the data had been migrated over correctly before the go live date. The level of support was unmatched and has not plateaued since."
The Access Legal team were also tasked with having to integrate and manage the large number of template documents that Bi Borough used as well as filtering the ones that were no longer in use. This meant a significant amount of time was spent on coding and developing these items, so they were of the largest value to the users.
Once Bi Borough went live, they saw a complete change in the way they were working. Whereas previously there was very little integration with the MS Office & Outlook software in the system, now they can do everything from one screen.
Business Manager, Richard Cutbush, had this today about Outlook Office. "We are loving the integration of Microsoft Outlook and how the court bundling system is an integrated unit. It really allows us to work from one screen without having to constantly refer to 3rd party software which made simple work go so much slower."
"With Access Legal, we have noticed our efficiency has increased enormously. Being able to automate the reports has also been excellent as they are auto sent to personnel on a regular basis. All of this efficiency and automation creates a system that is stress free and we love to use!"
Bi Borough were also pleased with the user-friendly interface. They found that simplicity allowed their users to easily learn the new Access Legal system. Some staff needed subsequent training sessions and more training was carried out after the go live. This further assured Bi Borough that Access Legal offers a relationship service with ongoing support rather than a service where the support stops after implementation.