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Posted & filed under Case Studies, Dictation, Local Government, Workflow.

“The digital dictation system within Democratic and Legal Services ensures that dictations get where they need to be instantly, with no manual processes. As a result, we are much more productive and the services we provide are much more efficient.”

Lesley Gardiner, North Lanarkshire Council


  • With digital dictation, there are no tapes or paper transcripts within the department that can be lost or misplaced.
  • Dictations within the system can be prioritised and properly managed at the author, secretary or manager level.
  • The council is utilising available man power much more efficiently to provide a better service.

Customer Background

North Lanarkshire Council, bordering the City of Glasgow at the north-east and containing a substantial number of large Glaswegian suburban areas (Cumbernauld, Coatbridge, Airdrie, and Motherwell) is home to over 330,000 people. Voice Technologies first installed digital dictation within the council in 2008 and has since supplied their users with ongoing maintenance, installation and support.


Prior to Voice Technologies implementing a digital dictation solution for the council, users made use of handheld tape-based dictation devices. Whilst these devices were excellent at recording dictated audio, they lent themselves to a slow and inefficient workflow process.

Upon the completion of a dictation, tapes would be distributed by their authors to the secretarial team by hand. When transcription was required urgently, containing folders would be marked as such – often differently depending on the particular author. The logging of the dictation work was done manually by one of the typing secretaries when the dictation tapes arrived in the transcription drop-off and the date in, name of typist completing job, urgency requirement, and date out information would be recorded for administrative purposes.

After transcription, hard copy documents would be placed within the containing folder alongside the tape for uplift from the collection area. Where the dictation was urgent, authors would be notified of the completed transcription verbally or by email, otherwise authors would simply wait until their completed typing was delivered to them.

With the Council wary of diminishing resources, and the need for greater efficiency, a digital dictation system was paramount to maximising the potential output of all members of the Democratic and Legal Services Team.


The digital dictation upgrade from Voice Technologies is comprised of the Winscribe dictation management software and a mix of Philips and Olympus portable dictation devices, Philips tethered dictation devices, foot pedals and transcription headsets.

The system enables the Democratic and Legal Services team to manage their dictations effortlessly – without a messy paper trail and an inconsistent system for prioritising and marking jobs as new, in progress, or completed. The efficiency of the system allows users to dedicate their time more productively and, in doing so, provide a better service to Council Management and Clients.

The system gives authors the ability to track the status of their dictations, give dictations a work-priority level, add attachments electronically to dictations, and have their dictation work with secretarial staff as soon as it is completed. For the secretarial staff, the benefits of digital dictation include clearer audio, the ability to see the length of work before they begin and the capability to recall older dictations for administrative purposes. For super users/management the main benefits of the system lie within the ability to run management reports whilst monitoring outstanding work and the secretarial staff access to dictations.