Perth Archdiocese awarded global digital transformation recognition

22 Mar 2024

By The Record

Director of the Archdiocesan Archives and Information Governance Office, Odhran O’Brien explained that the Archdiocese’s records, stretching back to the 1840s, were heavily paper based, and made it difficult to access important information easily and securely to support its vital safeguarding work. Photo: Supplied.

The Catholic Archdiocese of Perth has been honored with the 2024 Tom Wayman Digital Transformation Leader of the Year Award by Laserfiche, a global SaaS platform company, as part of their Run Smarter Awards program.

This marks the first time such recognition has been bestowed upon an Australian organisation (since the awards began in 2005), highlighting the Archdiocese’s strong commitment to safeguarding.

Director of the Archdiocesan Archives and Information Governance Office, Odhran O’Brien explained that the Archdiocese’s records, stretching back to the 1840s, were heavily paper based, and made it difficult to access important information easily and securely to support its vital safeguarding work.

“The need for a digital transformation of the Archdiocese’s record keeping and information governance was accelerated with the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse,” said Odhran.

“The Commission published an entire volume of recommendations on record keeping best practices and true to the Archdiocese’s commitment to embrace the report, a decision was taken to find a more efficient method for managing information.”

Perth Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB emphasised his congratulations to Odhran and his team.

“I am very proud of how we as an Archdiocese have prioritised this important initiative,” Archbishop Costelloe said.

“Thank you to Laserfiche for this recognition of the Archdiocese’s collaborative work and dedication towards using technology for good, and for safeguarding our local and wider communities,” he said.

Two technology platforms were identified and implemented by the Archdiocese, as part of their digital transformation strategy, rolled out in 2020.

Staff from the Archdioocesan Archives and Information Governance Office work on digitizing the Archdiocesan records. The CArchdiocese of Perth has been honored with the 2024 Tom Wayman Digital Transformation Leader of the Year Award by Laserfiche. Photo: Supplied.

Over four years, the Archdiocese has been able to transition from a largely paper-based system to a digital organisation, underscoring a collaborative approach to embrace change and innovation that will ensure the Church is able to provide essential services effectively in the 21st century.

“One of the key recommendations of the Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse highlighted the importance of aligning our information governance and management with recognised international standards,” explained Odhran.

“By doing so, we appreciated the opportunities and possibilities that a robust and secure information governance will provide to everyone within the archdiocese, which ultimately can enhance positive outcomes for the people and community we serve.”

Odhran continued to share that critically, the organisation’s Professional Standards Office has been an early adopter of the new Records Management System and they have found it enormously helpful when investigating complaints, as they are more able to cross-reference details and undertake much more comprehensive searches across the organisation.

“This is an important outcome for the organisation as after the Commission, our Archbishop and whole Catholic community has committed to making the archdiocese a safer place for children and adults at risk and technology is helping us advance and focus on this important work.”

Laserfiche CEO Karl Chan shared the news of the 2024 Run Smarter Awards from California on Tuesday 19 March 2024, commending the Archdiocese for their work in using technology to empower its community and inspire people to reimagine how technology can transform lives.

“The Run Smarter Awards are about celebrating individuals, teams and organisations that use Laserfiche and technology in ways that spark change, whether that is within the organisation, in their wider community, or the world,” said Karl.

“We’re proud to honor this year’s winners, who are on the front lines developing, optimising and promoting these transformative solutions.”

The Archdiocese will continue to implement Laserfiche and other interconnected technologies across the whole of Western Australia dioceses, with a view to automate records management and information governance processes in the next five to ten years.

“The Archdiocese works collaboratively with its 110 parishes and 26 service-based organisations in WA.

With records continually being held digitally in one centralised source, our wider community will be able to conduct key-word searches – that previously may have taken time to process – to be completed in seconds,” said Odhran.

“As a result, we anticipate we will see improved organisational decisions and outcomes in the allocation of resources to match the growing demand for community services in Perth and across Western Australia.”