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Going paperless promotes open government initiatives

January 29, 2013

For open and transparent government initiatives, there are many different paths to success. From investing in online records access solutions to meeting minutes management software to automate record keeping, a local government needs to examine its own processes and figure out how to implement the most successful services at the lowest cost to taxpayers. For some, the answer may lie primarily in paperless strategies.

Going paperless can be a big step for any organization, from a local government to a large enterprise, but it can have a variety of benefits. From reducing expenses to enhancing environmental awareness, going paperless will cut costs and improve a town, city or county government's ability to enhance transparency. To ensure success, however,  it may be necessary to approach paperless initiatives in small steps.

Migrate to digital
According to Enterprise Irregulars, going paperless on a small scale can help. Not printing electronic documents unless absolutely necessary, scanning paperwork and other solutions help reduce overall paper usage. Additionally, ensuring that any unneeded paperwork is shredded and properly recycled will help the process. But really what helps is eliminating paper creation.

Paperless meeting solutions
For a small government, one of the largest uses of paper is related to regular meetings. Information packets, including previous meeting's minutes, agenda dockets and more, take up thousands of sheets of paper a year. By migrating to a paperless meetings solution, a small government office can significantly reduce its paper consumption, freeing up a good portion of its budget and labor time as well. By moving minutes, agenda management and notes to digital formats, they are already processed for electronic record keeping and public access as well, which speeds up a number of administrative tasks.

Paperless is compliant
One oft-cited concern when going digital is regulatory and legal compliance. However, paperless solutions help to improve compliance, not hinder it, according to Enterprise Irregulars. It can help governing bodies become better organized. This is of particular importance for small government offices when considering public access to records and open government initiatives. By going digital, everything can be easily stored online for access via website, which not only encourages citizens to be more aware of their local council's agendas, but to become involved in proceedings when applicable.

Paperless meetings are just a small step towards open government initiatives and overall paperless ones, but they can provide a variety of benefits that will help encourage both pursuits, and make meeting management easier overall for any town, city or county.