Typically, the team might handle about 10 inquests a week, each requiring supporting inquest and disclosure bundles. Over the course of a year though, far more complex cases also arise. These require detailed inquest files along with numerous evidence bundles for a wide range of third parties. These can range from the families of the deceased and legal representatives to any council or health related departments that are involved.
With these more complex cases, there is often a sudden influx of information from a wide variety of sources and a requirement to produce numerous bundles for the eleven members of the inquest jury. All of this information has to be incorporated and indexed effectively prior to an inquest. Naturally, the team works at full pace and any technology innovation that can help them build and process bundles faster would make a real difference.
One such innovation is Zylpha’s Court bundle software. The Coroner’s Office became aware of the system through their interaction with the County Council’s Legal Services team where it had proved to be highly effective creating secure legal document bundles. Whilst the Coroner’s Court only currently accepts paper inquest files and disclosure bundles, The Coroner’s team could see enormous potential of preparing these electronically.
Upon review the team realised that Zylpha was able to fully automate the bundling processes and therein deliver a number of major benefits. As Michelle Cook of the Coroner’s team notes;
“With Zylpha it is simply a lot quicker to produce inquest and disclosure bundles – whether it’s in terms of scanning-in paper documents or incorporating the increasing number of electronic documents that arrive here. With Zylpha in place, it really is so easy to incorporate documents, to order them and to page number them. Previously, all this was done by hand including the page numbering and you can imagine with the bigger cases what a time consuming task that could be. There is considerable difference between numbering a document of 5 pages to one of 300 pages and when you really have quite a small team of highly qualified staff it seems odd that one should have to number things by hand. With Zylpha though, the whole process of creating, ordering and numbering is now automatic. The time savings therefore are considerable.
“It helps with the variation in case size too. Typically, the cases that come in might just require one bundle however – once every 4 or 5 weeks we might have a more complex inquest with numerous parties involved. Then occasionally, we can have a highly complex case that lasts for some months. Such cases could require 30 or 40 bundles. With Zylpha, we now have the ability to scale our operations more easily as it gives us the flexibility to to meet this variation in the demand on our time.”
Zylpha also delivers other benefits. Michelle Cook continues;
“Being an electronic bundling system Zylpha also makes distribution of bundles a lot easier and more secure too. In addition, Zylpha saves an enormous amount of paper and related stationery such as filing. Then of course, there is a huge reduction in storage requirements too. All together, there are significant cost savings with the system along with huge environmental benefits.”
Looking to the future, the Buckinghamshire Coroner office plans to increase its use of Zylpha. As Michelle Cook adds;
“So far just two members of our team of four are using the system. However, the impact Zylpha had made has been so positive that the other two will also be joining us using it and as it is so easy to use they should be up to speed in the very near future. By that stage, Zylpha will have transformed the way we do things and we will be looking at other areas where we can use the system, such as secure document delivery with other council departments.”