Case Studies

Managing Ministerial Correspondence in a ‘paperless’ environment at NSW Department of Industrial Relations (DIR)

DIR Overview

DIR’s charter is to administer a number of New South Wales statutes, the most significant of which is the Industrial Relations Act 1996.

DIR’s vision is statewide compliance with the NSW industrial framework in an environment that is equitable and which promotes workplace reform.

DIR’s mission is to work with employees, employers and their representatives to facilitate equitable, innovative and productive workplace relations.

Electronic Document Management System (EDMS) Project

Effective management of information is critical to DIR – in particular ministerial correspondence. It is essential to DIR that DIR’s employees create, manage and track paper and electronic corporate records and documents that are:

  • full and accurate, 
  • captured and maintained, 
  • legible, 
  • understandable and presentable,
  • easily accessible by those entitled to view them, 
  • disposed off with the correct authority and acceptable guidelines 
  • and generally supportive of DIR in fulfilling its mission statement

Recognizing that their information management effectiveness and efficiency was limited by their existing paper-based workflow processes, DIR asked Knowledgeone Corporation to undertake a review of DIR’s information management procedures

DIR had utilized RecFind for records management since 1997, however prior to the EDMS project RecFind’s use was limited to managing historical records only. For example, a ministerial correspondence document received would be registered, and the workflow process managed, in a number of disparate registers and systems prior to be registered to RecFind at the conclusion of the workflow process.

Issues identified by DIR employees with the paper based processes utilized prior to the EDMS project included:

  • difficulty in reporting on the status of a document   
  • the lengthy time taken to distribute documents  
  • the increased administration required from having to manage several disparate systems (e.g. multiple excel spreadsheets)
  • repetitive data entry
  • difficulty in document collaboration & version control
  • requirement to photocopy documents

To resolve these issues it was recommended to implement a ‘paperless’ workflow process by expanding the use of RecFind to encompass imaging, electronic document management and workflow, and widen RecFind’s application use to include correspondence management, in addition to its use for records management.

The new information management processes implemented included:

  • imaging all incoming ministerial correspondence into RecFind utilizing RecFind’s High Speed Scanning Module, 
  • managing the ministerial correspondence process with RecFind’s workflow module
  • enabling all DIR employees to effectively manage information (including scanned images, electronic documents, e-mails, physical files) and collaborate on workflow action tasks in a ‘paperless’ environment.

The EDMS project had the following objectives:

  • Improve productivity 
  • Reduce costs
  • Enhance reporting comprehensiveness
  • Enable accurate & timely management of workflow actions
  • Provide faster access to information
  • Provide a single view across multiple application areas (including the Ministerial Correspondence Unit and the Records Management Unit)

The DIR EDM Project Manager Richard Hayes felt the main obstacle to a successful implementation to overcome was the cultural change – employees were accustomed to paper processes. Richard overcame this obstacle by utilizing GroupWise in conjunction with RecFind for the new workflow process. “Everyone was very familiar and comfortable with GroupWise so the change to incorporate the new RecFind / GroupWise workflow was minor and the implementation was surprisingly smooth”.

An overview of the new DIR Ministerial Correspondence ‘paperless’ workflow process is depicted in the following flow chart:


Significant benefits achieved for DIR via the EDMS implementation have included:

  • Better management of evidence related risks, protecting the interests of DIR, and the rights of DIR’s employees, clients and stakeholders
  • Enhanced support for policy formulation and managerial decision-making by documenting business activities
  • Increased efficiency and effectiveness of program delivery, policy formulation and decision making based on relevant and timely information
  • Improved ability to track and monitor business performance
  • Improved access to information (single view across multiple application areas, plus the ability to retrieve documents on-line)
  • Increased productivity through streamlined business processes

Key reasons for a successful EDMS project at DIR

  • Commitment to the project from the top down
  • A dedicated project manager to manage the implementation, and 
  • Cultural change issues were recognized and effectively managed



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