It’s only just gone eight in the morning but the day is already in full swing when I arrive at the document handling department for the next edition of our ‘day in the life’ series.

With the exception of the archiving unit, staff work on a rotation basis, meaning they split their time between all roles including post, the delivery run and outgoing, to ensure productivity is always at its highest.

“It’s great to be able to have the opportunity to work all areas of the department and not do the same job every day,” said admin Paul Robinson.

So forget making a coffee or catching up with the latest gossip from last night’s TV, with strict deadlines to meet, the dynamic team are already gathered in the sorting room, fully focused on their first task of the day.

8:05: The Royal Mail deliver between 12 and 20 crates of post a day, which all need to be divided into PO boxes that correspond with different departments throughout PayPlan, like IVA and DMP.

9.30: Once the post is sorted, two members of the team will begin the morning delivery run to other PayPlan offices in the area.

While the delivery is taking place, it’s all hands on deck back at head office as everyone else opens and sorts other general post, mostly made up of mail from creditors, cheques and payments, and anything that has arrived without a PO box number.

10.12: The outgoing team are hard at work. Tom Coleman, assisted by one member of staff per day, is responsible for all bulk post that case officers need to send out.

As the majority of the documents are time sensitive, it’s always a challenge to make sure everything is sent out on time. 

“Between 4,000 and 5,000 documents pass through the outgoing department a day,” said Tom. “So because we’re dealing with such a large volume of documents, attention to detail is critical to reduce the risk of any data protection breaches.”

 13.06: The second delivery run leaves the office and collects all the outgoing post from the different departments arriving back in time for it to be sorted and sent out.

14.10: Aaron Dalgleish is one of four staff that works in the archiving unit. The unit holds approximately 37,000 hard files from past and present clients.

“The bulk of our work comes from IVA,” said Aaron.

“We receive between 50 and 100 brand new cases a week which need to be filed as soon as possible. When a person’s IVA is approved, we store it for five years. If a client fails their IVA or alternatively completes their arrangement early, in this circumstance we start a fresh six year window for legal requirements, so sometimes we could end up storing a file for up to 11 years.

“We spend a lot of our time filing documents away into client’s records. Every time a case officer receives a document relating to one of their clients at any point in their plan they send it to us to be filed away. In the past week, we have filed over 1,800 documents.”

14.34: Alternatively, if a case officer needs a document that’s in their clients file, they can request it from the archives and we’ll deliver it to the correct department on either the morning or afternoon run.  The afternoon run leaves at 2pm.

“Whenever a file is requested it’s recorded, so we always have a paper trail of its location. At the moment we have 700 files booked out across the business, so it’s important to have an effective system to track every single file.”

15.11: An order of stationery is delivered to be distributed throughout the business.

16:00: “The majority of the team work until four, but we make sure there are people around until five just in case,” adds Junior Manager Tara Power.