Lambeth Council legal dept in paperless efficiency initiative

The London Borough of Lambeth’s legal team has embarked on a pilot project to create the public sector’s first paperless office in a bid to increase chargeable hours.

The team will be equipped with laptop computers and mobile email devices to make use of billable ‘dead time’, such as waiting outside courtrooms for cases.

Director of legal and democratic services Mark Hynes said: “The Law Society target for chargeable hours is 1,250 – 1,400 a year, but I think that those figures are increasingly out of date and we’re seeking to generate greater revenues with our time.

“In a working day of seven and a half hours we’d traditionally expect to do five chargeable hours, but I think we’re being conservative and could easily push that by 20-30 per cent”.

Council buildings will also be fitted with wireless internet access to allow work anywhere in the building, paving the way for a rationalisation of the existing office space.

Hynes argued that the cost of the new technology was “not huge” and would “pay for itself”.

The team also plans to move over to a digital dictation system of sound files that can be picked up online.