Hayward Baker have been shortlisted in the category ‘Outstanding Individual’ at the Claims Technology awards 2010.
The nominee is Rob Tonks the ICT Manager at Hayward Baker.
Hayward Baker Solicitors Outstanding Individual
Hayward Baker Solicitors ICT Department was set a mandate. That mandate was to develop an IT infrastructure to increase efficiency and thereby deliver a first class service to clients at a stressful time in their life, but also keeping operating costs to a minimum, keeping abreast of technology, and utilising the same to fit our firms requirements.
Rob Tonks our ICT Manager had previously worked as a paralegal and an IT Technician/Manager under one job title within Hayward Baker Solicitors. He worked in this dual role for 6 years, however as the firm has grown significantly Rob is now solely employed as our ICT Manager.
Working as a Paralegal he understood the business needs of the Firm and by working closely with, and listening to the File Handlers, he has by utilising ICT technology and our case management system (Proclaim) developed a practical, efficient and stable system which is not only good for the firm but for our client’s.
Rob has planned organised, budgeted, installed, setup or supervised third parties in achieving the following using ICT technology.
We set out to be paperless over 6 years ago. We have achieved this as far as practicable. We do not print file copies of outgoing letters or documents. Further, all draft letters created by junior staff are saved electronically in case history for approval by supervisors before printing.
All incoming post is scanned into the system. And all staff and approved visitors having access to Proclaim can view a scanned document. This alleviates the need for multiple copies and speeds up the claims process.
We email where possible and do not print copy documents unless absolutely necessary. The medical agents, CMC’s and the sign-up agents all send and receive data to us electronically where possible. Many clients also now prefer this communication medium.
Electronic File Imports/Exports
We can import files electronically using XML and CSV from numerous business partners into and out of our case management system. This vastly reduces the amount of time entering data into the system. We can export information also whether the recipient has Proclaim or not.
We identified File View, part of the Proclaim case management system, as a secure and managed way to allow agents and clients to access our database. By allowing access to interact with our case management screens, agents and clients can complete online documents preventing the need for more paper documents to be sent out. This reduces our carbon footprint and speeds up the data collection process in a cost efficient way.
With a client’s consent, we try to further speed up our case process by utilising text messaging as far as possible. We can use this for short communications or to direct clients to complete a form or documents through File View.
We also have the facility for the client to respond to us with a text message. This immediately goes into case tasks on the client’s electronic file creating an instantaneous but environmentally friendly line of communication.
Any employer in the 21st century must anticipate staff will need the flexibility to work from home periodically, especially staff with young families. We also have members of staff who work at home on a permanent basis. This allows us to reduce office space, use less heating and lighting, and reduce travel. Remote users connect to the office via a Virtual Private Network. All they need is a low spec PC and broadband internet.
As we had a definite requirement within the last 12 months for more home workers and to allow them full use of the telephone system we tasked Rob to provide the management team with a plan and budget.
To get the right balance he had to keep the need for technical equipment to a minimum. He therefore considered what the latest technology could offer. He decided on Multi Protocol Label Switching (MPLS). This allowed us to run different types of traffic on the same network faster, such as the ability to carry data audio and video simultaneously.
What was born out of MPLS was the ability to have one telephone system for both office and home users. This allowed us to have one domain Controller, Exchange, file and print server, backup server, firewall, and internet broadband for browsing and another broadband connection for VPN access. This system is fully scalable and can be shared between multiple offices. The environmental impact is extremely low.
Rob also taught himself in his own time how to create websites using XHTML. CSS and PHP and as a result has now redesigned and taken over the development of our own website. He therefore not only supports our network but is also helping to raise the marketing profile of the firm through the web.
Last year Rob was diagnosed by an organisation called Combat Stress with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder caused by combat whilst serving in the armed forces. The symptoms were extremely difficult to cope with and they include a very high level of anxiety, lack of self confidence, low self worth, restricting traits of OCD, depression, difficulty with social interaction, sleep deprivation, nightmares and anger.
We have always supported Rob during his low moments as he is a highly valued member of this firm, a dedicated and loyal employee and friend. However when Rob has had bad days and seemed to act completely out of character we guessed that there were underlying issues from his time in the services, as we knew he had seen friends killed in combat.
We are glad to say that since being diagnosed he is getting very good treatment via Combat Stress and we and all our staff fully support him with his treatment.
I recommend Rob Tonks for this award for his technical achievements, his loyalty, his dedication to the firm and our client’s, whilst overcoming extremely difficult circumstances.
Quote from Eclipse Legal services (Darren Gower)
“Having known Rob for many years, we at Eclipse have no hesitation in recommending him. He approaches projects with tenacity and passion – the results, and his firm’s superb use of IT, speak for themselves!”