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How our constituency office is benefitting from Office 365

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Open, Simplicity, Technology, Unity without uniformity

Staff using technology

As a parliamentary assistant, I spend a significant part of my time drafting letters and presentations, and doing research on behalf of the MP I work for.

Like every parliamentary office, we have lots of documents that we all need access to, with things like constituency documents having a separate filing system from our other work. Until recently we could only access our documents when we were working on the parliamentary estate, which meant that working remotely was virtually impossible. This made my job very difficult especially when I had to work at the weekend or out of hours.

All for OneDrive and OneDrive for all

We were chosen as one of the first offices to migrate over to Office 365. This has meant moving away from storing files on our personal and shared drives to using OneDrive and SharePoint.

Some people questioned why we had to move to using shared drives. In our case, we often have to work in a variety of external places and Office 365 lets us access files remotely. We can also access our email from anywhere and synchronise our files and folders so that they update in real time.

The whole process was simple and easy. The user engagement team from the Digital Service came to explain the new service and guided us through the transition process. They couldn’t have been more friendly and helpful – assistance was on hand whenever we needed it.

Making my job and my MP’s job easier

Having access to my MP’s calendar, diary, contacts, email inbox, and all our constituency files remotely makes Office 365 an invaluable system. It means we’re no longer stranded if we need to work away from the parliamentary estate. As everything is stored in the cloud, it’s much friendlier than the old verification access system which required a myriad of passwords.

Since we’ve had the new system, it’s made my job much easier. I can now monitor my MP’s inbox far more frequently and documents are automatically saved in our OneDrive so everyone has access to the same files. This has made our office much more efficient and we can quickly access any files that our MP needs.

My MP also has access to all the files. He can easily find anything he needs and we’ve managed to integrate the system with his home computer and tablet. As a result, he can respond more quickly to constituents and we can turnover correspondence more rapidly.

Having direct access to files through OneDrive has also been great as it helps me to transfer them from my MP’s tablet. This is useful if we need access to recordings or speeches that he’s made or has drafted on an external device.

Using Office 365 is invaluable to us now as it lets us work remotely and seamlessly which is useful for my MP, his staff, and his constituents.

Read more about what the user engagement team do

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