Canterbury invests in DataFlow system

The legal department at Canterbury City Council is to install an innovative new DataFlow case management system.

Staff at the council's legal department, which includes three solicitors, four legal executives, two paralegals and an administrator, will use the system to administer car parking prosecutions, rent and debt arrears.

Canterbury chief solicitor Philip Wilson-Sharp says: “We wanted a system which would help us to manage the department to Law Society practice management standards by enabling us to keep track of files and other records accurately.”

The system will be set up to account for work that falls outside the definition of legal services for compulsory competitive tendering, work within the definition but below the threshold and work which is to be tendered through the authority's direct services organisation.

The system will also enable regular monitoring of council income budgets.

Michael Clarke, spokes-man for software developers Linetime, says the beauty of the system is its ability to be reprogrammed to meet specific needs.

He says: “If the department no longer needs it to monitor car parking prosecutions, the system can be

reprogrammed to monitor something else without having to buy new equipment.”

Wilson-Sharp is also confident the DataFlow system will improve collaboration and communication with other council departments.

He says: “As well as helping with our own administration we needed a system where our own clients – such as engineers or housing department staff within the local authority – could have access to read their own records without being able to see anyone else's.”

The installation of the DataFlow system is part of a £41,000 council order.

The order also includes Linetime's Practice II accounts and time recording packages and will be run over a combination of networked PCs with a Unix server.