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The Scout Association Selects Toplevel’s OfficeForms

The Scout Association has selected OfficeForms from Toplevel Computing to assist its volunteers to manage the complex task of its annual census of members. The Association has over 500,000 members in 10,000 local community groups across the UK.

Electronic forms are being distributed for the first time in December on CD-ROM. Eventually it is hoped that they will totally replace the manual collection system that took many weeks to complete and required the temporary employment of additional data entry staff.

The existing manual system required each local Scout Group to forward data on paper to the national headquarters of the Association via one of over 900 district organisations. In turn, the district organisations passed the information via one of over 110 county organisations.

The aggregate data of up to one and a half million items is then typed into a national database by temporary staff. The data is finally used for invoicing membership fees to the county organisations and for ascertaining the total and profile of the Association’s membership.

"The information we gather is essential, but the current situation has meant that we’ve ended up with an extremely cumbersome administrative machine and there is no doubt that electronic forms will help speed up the process and reduce the risk of errors being introduced at the data entry stage," said Neville Broadbent, IT manager for the Association. "OfficeForms is both simple for us to set up and simple for the local Scout Group to use. We have created the forms to look exactly like the paper forms that members have been used to. For those with access to a computer, forms can be completed electronically. The completed form can be returned by email or on a disk. As we can’t count on everyone being IT-oriented, it was essential that OfficeForms also enabled us to print paper versions for members to return by post."

This year, the forms are being included on a CD-ROM containing a great deal of other information about scouting. Over 14,000 CD-ROMS are being distributed. The flexibility of the system means that groups will be able to make their returns either by email, on floppy disk or on paper.

The system is set up using the OfficeForms ‘Super ExeForms’ functionality so that none of the recipients of the census forms needs to install software to receive, open, complete and return the forms.

"Receiving most of the data electronically will have a major impact on the time it takes to process the data, meaning we can complete the census more quickly. And it clearly saves a lot of time for the district and county volunteers who previously had to collate all the data manually," continued Broadbent.

Toplevel’s Super ExeForms enables electronic forms to be processed on any PC, regardless of what software is installed, making it of particular benefit to organisations collecting survey data from a wide range of external sources. OfficeForms enables organisations to save time and money processing self-service forms for employees, such as expenses, timesheets, purchase orders and requisitions. It facilitates 100 percent accurate data collection of such forms as statutory and government forms, assessment reports and audit forms when used with trading partners.

About the Scout Association

The World Scout Movement started in England with an experimental camp on Brownsea Island, Dorset, in 1907. Today, there are well over 25 million members in over 210 countries and the Movement is still growing. Scouting in the UK is firmly committed to co-education so that boys and girls have increased opportunity to do their growing together and meet the aims of Scouting through one programme. In 1991, girls were admitted to the Beaver Scout, Cub Scout and Scout Sections. This complements the admission of young women to the Venture Scout Section in 1976, and builds on the work of women Leaders and Helpers since the early years of the Movement.

In the United Kingdom there are some 9,160 Scout Groups, each of which comprises one or more Scout Troops and Cub Scout Packs and possibly a Venture Scout Unit. There may also be a Beaver Scout Colony. The Groups are supported locally by about 964 Scout Districts which, in turn, receive support and guidance from 113 Scout County Organisations. In the year 2000 census the total membership was 526,474.

About Toplevel

Toplevel is headquartered in Gloucestershire and was founded in 1984, and launched its first electronic forms product in 1993. It is now the market leader of forms technology and has a registered user base of over 20,000 providing solutions for internal and external data collection.

OfficeForms is designed for companies wishing to reduce levels of bureaucracy, by replacing costly paper-based procedures with on-screen electronic forms. The advantages include faster communications, 100 percent accuracy rate of returned data and reduced labour and distribution costs.

Company contact:

Jane Roberts, Marketing Director

Tel: +44 (0)1453 753955

Fax: +44 (0)1453 753933


Press contact:

Mary Brain, Strategic

Tel: 01494 434434


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