Centrelink has achieved significant performance improvements through the first stages of its national plan to scan paper based forms.
Two years in the making, the project involves a rethink of workflow for customer correspondence and forms. The changes were enabled through a national rollout of Fuji Xerox Multi Function Devices (MFD) and workflow software.
Quoted in a recent article, Minister for Human Services, Chris Bowen MP, said, "Each year Centrelink receives more than 370 million pages of paper-based forms and correspondence from customers about payments and services.... Although it is still early days, this is a major transformation in the way Centrelink manages paper-based information and processing."
For any government agency, the difficulty in processing paper correspondence is matching up relevant information.
Consider the following scenario:
Centrelink writes to a unemployed client to schedule an interview. The letter is returned, marked ‘not at this address’. Meanwhile the client writes to Centrelink in another part of the country to advising that he has moved to a new residence.
Scanned correspondence enables Centrelink to rapidly connect all such relevant correspondence and make an informed decision.
The initial implementation involves processing of scanned images, with document routing based on information in the document header. Later implementations may include OCR and barcode recognition, and automated database updates based on document content.