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South Gloucestershire trumpets eDocs savings



Council has brought together WordPress, open source PDFs and a text-to-speech software to make documents readable on a range of device

South Gloucestershire Council has claimed a cut in its printing bill from the introduction of an in-house software package that has enabled staff to read documents on a range of online devices.

It said that, since it introduced eDocs just over a year ago, it has reduced its print output by about 2 million pages and produced a saving of more than £170,000.

The council is now making some documents available to the public through its website, including its plan for 2016-20, guidance on planning and its safeguarding board reports.

The software was developed by its own Digital Services team, with no costs beyond the time they spent on the project and brings together three components: WordPress, the open source web content management system that it is widely used by amateur website builders; mPDF, an open source free software that generates PDF files; and Browsealoud, a text-to-speech software.

The latter can also adjust the colour contrast in documents and makes it possible to deliver their text as MP3 audio files.

Kindle download

The council said that documents created on eDocs can be downloaded to laptops and smartphones, automatically adjusting to the screen size, and to Kindles.

Councillor John Goddard, deputy council leader and chair of the Resources Sub-Committee, said: “eDocs is a major contribution to digital public services delivery allowing faster and more accessible access to a range of services while enabling local authorities to reduce waste and reduce costs for next to no expenditure.”

Image: iStock

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