The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea

"Astech worked with us closely during 2009/10 on development of the Business Manager module of CMIS v.5 and have proved very willing to listen to, and understand, our particular business needs. They have come to see us on many occasions to help us improve on how this software works for the Royal Borough."

Robert Shepherd, Head of Governance Services at 
The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea

Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council

"Sandwell MBC continually looks to make the best use of CMIS to make savings, improve processes and enhance the user experience for our councillors and the public – our relationship with the Astech support desk team is vital for this. Every step of the way the team has worked with us to shape the CMIS platform to meet our requirements and to keep it running so smoothly. With a professional, knowledgeable, responsive and (equally importantly) friendly approach, the support desk team are there for us whenever we encounter issues or think up new things we want to try out. Without such a positive relationship between ourselves and the support desk there’s no way that our change to paperless meetings could have been successful!"

- Alex Goddard, Scrutiny Officer at 
Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council

Warwick District Council

"Warwick District Council purchased CMIS as they saw the potential and longevity in the system. The aim of the Council was to have a system for providing a complete record of the Council, its Committees, Councillors and election results past, present and future. We believe that CMIS is the best solution to deliver this, particularly after seeing the developments of it since we made the decision to purchase it."

- Graham Leach, Senior Committee Officer at 
Warwick District Council

Rochford District Council

Whilst we had been happy using the previous version of CMIS, developed by Enline, we had found that it would not deal satisfactorily with the decision notices that were being generated. We were pleased to see that CMIS V5 from Astech, had been developed to be more flexible, and this, and the fact that it enabled us to provide detailed information to the public in a clear easily understood manner, helped inform the decision to switch to the latest version. The help and assistance that the Astech support team provided was invaluable during the move from CMIS V4 to CMIS V5 during which we were able to customise various parts of the site to better meet the needs of the authority.

- John Bostock, Member Services Manager at 
Rochford District Council

Renfrewshire Council

“Before implementing CMIS, the process for the preparation of agendas and minutes was long and disjointed. There were a number of different systems in place in order to facilitate the Committee Management process which resulted in duplication of effort. In order to try and streamline the process we went out to tender and found that there were a number of features on offer that we thought would benefit us and ultimately CMIS was the best fit for us in terms of what it could do.”

- Kirsty Brown, Committee Services Officer at 
Renfrewshire Council

South Tyneside Council

After successfully running CMIS for a number of years we were well placed to be able to identify just what we needed from an effective committee management system. This was the basis for our decision to upgrade to CMIS 5, which seemed to offer all of the functionality of the previous system but with a far wider range of facilities and options. At the moment we are working on “going live” with the new system so our experience of it has been limited to some team training days and some “experimentation” with a test system. So far though the response from the Democratic Services team has been very positive and we are all keen to start to use CMIS 5 properly and to see just what it can do. We already have an excellent working relationship with the support team at Astech and have always found them very capable of resolving any problems we have come across as well as being responsive to any suggestions that we have made about the future development of the system.

- Neil Simpson, Senior Democratic Services Officer at 
South Tyneside Council

Ealing London Borough Council

"The support team at Astech have been excellent; it's nice to get straight through to a human being who seems to care about fixing any problems we have."

- Keith Fraser, Head of Scrutiny and Committees at 
Ealing London Borough Council

Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council

Dudley Council upgraded to the latest version of CMIS in December 2010, having successfully operated previous versions of CMIS since 2003. The main reason to upgrade was the online petitions facility, however, we were keen to move to the upgraded version to improve our modern website and drive out further efficiencies in the management of the democratic process by considering the exciting new features of CMIS 5. The move to CMIS 5 was undertaken seamlessly, without any disruption to our service or inconvenience to elected members. In fact, the change was so smooth that few people actually noticed! Staff training was provided by Astech as part of the upgrade and the Democratic Services team has quickly adapted to the new version. We are very grateful for the support of our ICT Team and Astech, who worked very efficiently to iron out any teething problems quickly and efficiently. We cannot fault the ongoing support we receive.

Steve Griffiths, Democratic Services Manager at 
Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council

Midlothian Council

"We contacted Astech about setting up a demo and we could immediately recognise the benefit of having an automated system.”

Kyle Clark-Hay, Democratic and Document Services Manager at 
Midlothian Council

Tandridge District Council

Tandridge District Council, located within the county of Surrey, serves approximately 79,500 citizens through its 42 councillors and 330 employees. CMIS was able to bring a more transparent and dynamic method of working to democratic services at Tandridge which allowed the department to provide a higher quality and a greater volume of output for the same effort. This was in part due to a reduction in duplication of work due to CMIS’s intuitive business intelligence. As one of the first council’s to implement the system, Tandridge has been reaping the benefits for nearly 13 years and Dave Homewood, Committee Services Manager, explains that the system continues to perform seamlessly. He said: “Today the system is reliable, very easy to update and I would not hesitate to recommend it. It is fair to say that before Astech took over CMIS it had not previously formed part of the core business of that company; it was a mere add-on. This is not the case with Astech where it is an integral part of the business.” In his report issued in July 2004, Sir Peter Gershon laid out a vision for the improvement of local government services. This review specifically focused upon the release of major resources from activities that could be undertaken more efficiently into those front line services that meet the publics highest priorities. Stuart Mitchenhall, Tandridge DC’s Head of IT, explains how CMIS has enabled them to meet Gershon’s criteria. “CMIS has exceeded our expectations, significantly reducing costs and allowing us to meet four Gershon efficiencies simultaneously,” he said. “Targeted savings achievable in printing and distribution from the CMIS solution at Tandridge were approximately £28,000 in our first year. Before the implementation of CMIS our printing and distribution costs had been in the regions of £50,000, and although we have fallen short of the target, CMIS has practically cut these costs in half.”

Dave Homewood, Committee Services Manager at 
Tandridge District Council

Hereford and Worcester Fire Service

"We implemented CMIS in October 2014 and it has helped us a lot with our agenda production and the publishing of information to our website. It has really streamlined the way that we produce agendas; the process is now so much quicker. Prior to CMIS, we manually loaded everything into Adobe and it was a long and painful process to produce agendas. When we wanted to publish anything to the website, a different department would have to do that for us, making it a long chain in terms of getting to our end product.”

Alison Hughes, Committee and Member Services Manager at 
Hereford and Worcester Fire Service

Hereford and Worcester Fire Service decided to look into ways of improving their agenda production and the publishing of information to their website.

The fire service decided to sign up to CMIS in October 2014 and the system has been producing results ever since, as Alison Hughes, Committee and Member Services Manager explains: “We implemented CMIS in October 2014 and it has helped us a lot with our agenda production and the publishing of information to our website. It has really streamlined the way that we produce agendas; the process is now so much quicker. Prior to CMIS, we manually loaded everything into Adobe and it was a long and painful process to produce agendas. When we wanted to publish anything to the website, a different department would have to do that for us, making it a long chain in terms of getting to our end product.”

Alison explains, “When we were originally looking at implementing a system to help us with our committee administration, some were worried about what impact it would have on them and their jobs, but now they have seen the CMIS system working, they can see what a time-save it has been for them.”
“We have found that CMIS has saved us time in various ways, such as agenda production, publishing to the website and in areas like version control. We know now that our final version of a report or a minute is in CMIS, so we’re not spending time looking round the files trying to figure out whether it may have been adapted in some way. We have assurance that whatever is in CMIS is our final version.”

Essex County Council

“Essex is very happy to be working with Astech on the delivery of CMIS. Nothing seems to be too much trouble for colleagues at Astech and no request has been seen as too unreasonable." “It has been crucial for Essex that CMIS fits in seamlessly with our redesign of the Council’s overall website and Astech have gone out of their way to make this happen. Loading information into CMIS is simple and speedy. Requests for amendments have been quickly dealt with. “There is still a lot about CMIS we have yet to learn and we already have ideas about how we want to take it forward. I am confident that with Astech’s positive attitude, CMIS will continue to evolve and meet Essex’s needs for an efficient Committee Management tool.”

Colin Ismay, Governance Manager at 
Essex County Council

Essex have been using CMIS since 2010, when they decided to replace an old system developed in-house with modern e-democracy software. Being used to a custom solution, they liked the fact that CMIS could be customised around their own workflows and processes, unlike other off-the-shelf systems which take more of a one-size-fits-all approach.
By opting for a hosted solution, they also avoided the expensive infrastructure and support costs of installed software, while still getting a flexible solution that was adapted to their needs.
Essex have integrated CMIS seamlessly with their website, making it easy for anyone to access information on elected members, elections, meetings, decisions, and outside bodies. As well as council meetings and agenda items, and a political history of each member, the Astech team helped import older information into the system, creating a searchable document archive going back over 10 years - all accessible to officers, members and the public alike.
The switchover has been made even easier by the support Astech provide to their clients:
"The help and support from Astech can't be faulted” says Ian Myers, Senior Committee Officer at Essex County Council. “If there's ever a query you just pick up the phone. They've come and spent time with us going through the software. They couldn't have been better."

Warwickshire County Council

"CMIS is the only product on the market that could truly automate our business processes. The flexible approach of the Astech team and the commitment to evolve the product continually made the decision easy for us."

Jane Pollard, Democratic Services Manager at 
Warwickshire County Council

The business process used to make policy decisions at Warwickshire County Council has been greatly improved thanks to CMIS Democratic Services software and a close working relationship between the council and the software provider, Astech Consultants Ltd.

In 2010, as part of its on-going pursuit of Good Governance, Warwickshire County Council undertook a review to find out if the council was making the best possible use of ICT. The project was led by the council’s Democratic Services Team in a programme of radical improvements to the decision making process aimed at achieving greater speed, consistency, accessibility and efficiency.
The review found that, for historical reasons, each of the nine directorates had their own process, resulting in serious inconsistency, confusion and waste. The Democratic Services team quickly agreed the improvements that were needed to unify and streamline the process and then produced a business case for purchasing a commercially available ICT system.
The resulting formal tendering process led to Warwickshire County Council choosing Astech to provide a tailored solution to suit the council’s requirements, on the basis of the outstanding flexibility of the CMIS software. Jane Pollard, Warwickshire CC’s Democratic Services Manager, said the decision to implement CMIS was an easy one.
“CMIS is the only product on the market that could truly automate our business processes. The flexible approach of the Astech team and the commitment to evolve the product continually made the decision easy for us.”

The CMIS suite of Democratic Management modules has provided the council with a software application capable of delivering the workflow control and functionality it required. At the heart of the applications is a streamlined, error free process that:

  • is designed to match WCC’s needs precisely
  • simplifies the creation of proposals and reports
  • creates reports, agendas and minutes
  • proceeds on an intuitive, logical, step-by-step basis
  • automates many historically manual proceduressuch as document distribution, consultation, collection of comments and approvals
  • enables visual tracking of progress so giving the author full control and allowing other parties to check the stage of a job
  • uses reminders to keep all interested parties to an agreed timetable speeds up and simplifies consultation and decision making
  • significantly reduces costs

Additionally, the web-based nature of the CMIS system allows council officers remote access and flexible working from any computer, anywhere.
The package from CMIS includes comprehensive technical support and training, as required.

In their first year of using CMIS, Warwickshire County Council were able to save over £10,000 a month following a vast reduction in paper usage, distribution costs and an increase in productivity.

In Warwickshire County Council’s own words, “The electronic preparation, consultation and distribution of reports and agendas has also resulted in considerable savings in printing and distribution costs.” Officers’ time previously spent administering the process is now diverted to other duties with resultant savings in all the council’s directorates.

West Midlands Fire Authority

"The commitment shown to continually support and develop the product based on user feedback via the CMIS user group, will ensure that the product will always meet the e-government needs of authorities as they continue to evolve over the next few years."

Aniko Ingham, Administration Manager at 
West Midlands Fire Authority

How CMIS helped the West Midlands Fire and Rescue Authority increase efficiency

As a Metropolitan Fire Brigade it functions under the control of the West Midlands Fire and Rescue Authority. Formed in 1986, the Authority is made up of 27 elected
members from the 3 cities and 4 districts in the area. The brigade is run under the command of the chief fire officer and his principal command team and provides emergency response from 39 fire stations across the region. The vision of the fire service is to “make the West Midlands safer” by offering a quality service aimed at preventing, protecting and responding.


The effective administration and management of day to day committee management processes was proving an increasingly time-consuming activity for the Authority. This was exacerbated by the need to keep committee members, drawn from a large geographical area, informed. Straight forward tasks such as providing information relating to members meetings and distributing the associated documents were taking an excessive amount of time and resource to fulfil. With these requirements in mind the Authority decided to look for a proven committee management system that:

  • Contributed towards more efficient document management
  • Gave access to all officers, members and the public
  • Reduced printing costs by minimising the number of hard copies produced
  • Minimised the time the committee services staff spent retrieving old or archived documents for other departments

Additional requirements were placed on the Authority by BVPI 157. This sets specific targets for the electronic provision of services, a key part of which is the obligation to publish committee papers for public consumption via the Internet. As this was a procedure the Authority was already following this feature was an important requirement of any chosen solution.


Sandwell MBC, the Fire Authority’s lead authority, had been successfully utilising CMIS for a number of years. Based on Sandwell’s recommendation the Fire Authority invited CMIS to outline how they would tailor the solution to deal with the requirements of a single-purpose authority. Once they were satisfied with the proposals they opted to implement CMIS.

CMIS was specifically designed to address the needs for committee and member services staff to be able to manage more effectively the democratic process and framework. Specifically, it allows members, officers and citizens to search for and find minute, report, agenda or resolution information from meetings via the Internet and any browser enabled device. CMIS enables committee and member services staff to more effectively manage the democratic process and framework, including current legislation. While members and citizens can access information from home, work or any public access point such as a kiosk or local library.

The system is totally secure with parameters and the availability of documents being controlled by Authority staff.
CMIS is now used by a number of authorities to help achieve e-Government targets. For the West Midlands Fire Authority the standard CMIS product was modified to cater specifically for the needs of a single-purpose authority.


The introduction of CMIS has allowed all of the Authority’s decision-making documentation (agendas, reports and records of decisions) to be made accessible across the
Internet. A standardised publishing format coupled with an easy-to-use Web-based interface means that information can now be easily accessed by committee services staff, members and citizens irrespective of their location.
Decision making within the Authority is more transparent as members’ history, attendance and political affiliation, together with their other committee memberships can be quickly accessed via the Website. This is important with regard the Authority meeting the central government targets for e-government. Processing and scheduling Authority meetings is now much easier due to CMIS’ inbuilt fully automated e-mail functionality, making the task of informing members about new or rescheduled meetings less time consuming.
Centralising information storage to one location and IT system has made it easier to share information both internally and publicly. It has also made the security and
backup of data easier to coordinate and manage. This has also helped to save on storage space for committee services staff and members.
CMIS has also provided the potential to make savings in printing budgets. The ability to dispatch agenda and reports electronically can minimise the number of hard copies produced and help the Authority become more sustainable in the future.