Secured Signing had the pleasure of talking with Matamata-Piako District Council’s Jo Gifford on how digitising their signing processes has helped them deliver on their strategic sustainability goals.
We dove deep into why digital signing was required, the preparation required before implementing digital signing and what Jo learnt along the way
Main drivers for going digital
Let’s go back to the beginning, when Matamata-Piako District were manually preparing and handling all of their documents. Back then, the democracy team were driving around delivering agendas and minutes to relevant councilors.
Signed documents were stacking up and some signatures were taking months to be sent, signed, returned, and filed into the right location. A better solution was out there, and they were determined to find it.
Three main drivers which led Matamata-Piako District Council on their digitisation journey were:
- Time spent transferring information between councilors and internal stakeholders,
- Money spent on paper, people and postage
- The ability to be flexible.
Options were investigated to bring councilors into the digital world. One thing Jo mentioned is that having “huge support from the CEO” and upper management aided in the project’s success.
Being able to do things digitally, we know the moment of signing, we can verify the identity… when contracts can be worth 5 – 15 million dollars, you need to be able to prove legitimacy over who is signing the document.
Preparing to go digital
For Jo, the Democracy team were the primary drivers for change and would be the biggest users of any digital solution that they would require. However, they involved other divisions to take advantage of the added efficiencies of digitisation.
These divisions included Procurement, Contracts, People, Wellness & Safety.
In the early stages, it was important to bring in key people from each division, identify at what point do things need to be signed and when things need to happen made a huge difference when implementing digital signing.
Choosing the right product
Matamata-Piako District Council chose Secured Signing, but why? Secured Signing’s platform allows you to fill-in and sign legally binding documents, from any device, anywhere, at any time. These documents are sealed with a signature which means they cannot be altered, keeping your data safe. The product was easy to understand, implement and use.
After the fact, Jo was impressed with the “responsive” support provided from the Secured Signing team. Emails replied to on the same day, phone calls if required, the initial training was interactive and useful and Matamata-Piako District Council staff have been able to sustain contact with Secured Signing allowing them to expand their knowledge of the product.
From a practical standpoint, it was “right product, right time” and the window of opportunity was utilised.
It (the Secured Signing platform) just made life an awful lot easier.
Key Insights and Recommendations
Wrapping up, Jo was able to share her key insights and recommendations:
- Get a great champion who empowers your team and understands the full benefits of document digitisation.
- Identify teams who want to be a part of the document digitisation process.
- Workshop your processes so you know where the product will sit.
- Conduct research into the true costs of printing, scanning, postage, transportation, filing, etc.
We found that the savings we could make by going fully digital, just in the Democracy space, was enough to cover the cost of getting the product, Secured Signing, and paying the fees that we needed to. It also covered off the cost of supplying all of our councilors and the Mayor with devices and it covered the cost of the (communication) hub and the IT behind that. And all of the Office 365 licenses. Secured Signing was a no-brainer from a savings perspective.
Want to learn more? Watch the full recording here.
About Jo Gifford
Information Team Leader (Records & Land) at Matamata-PiakoDistrict Council, Jo Gifford has been working in local government for over 30 years with a huge breadth of knowledge across council, divisions, and projects. Her role in the Digital Signing project is one of the more recent ones, and was a project driven by the Corporate Strategy team and Communications team and supported by IT and management. The on-going management of digital signing and expansion of the opportunities it provides now sits with Jo.