Bristol City migrates document management to open source

Bristol City Council is improving record keeping and online access to documents by deploying an open source electronic document management system.

The move to electronic documents and online team collaboration is a key part of the council's plan to shave £70 million off its annual operating budget.

The open source Alfresco software will allow staff to access electronic documents remotely cutting down on the paper they carry around

It will give project teams the ability to share documents virtually through a collaboration platform.

Gavin Beckett, chief enterprise architect at Bristol City Council, said: "Alfresco offers a rich set of features in a user-friendly package with the additional bonus of being an open source platform, which means we can use it right across the board without having to spend large sums on licences.

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"The other advantage of open source and open standards is that barriers are removed for SME's and local ICT suppliers to collaborate with the council."

One project under development enables landlords applying for licences for houses in multiple occupation to submit their applications online.

In another project, staff performing equipment servicing and maintenance repairs on council properties can upload images such as photographs and gas certificates captured on PDAs.

The council has also piloted the use of Alfresco on other mobile devices. Staff and councillors can access Alfresco via the cloud using Android or Apple devices or standard laptop computers, enabling paperless meetings and access to documents on the move.

Bristol's move towards council-wide open source adoption to save money started in 2010, and won central government support at the end of last year.