Customer Success Stories

HMCTS delivers easy-to-use will and probate search service with iron mountain insight on AWS

Customer Success Stories

HMCTS delivers easy-to-use will and probate search service with iron mountain insight on AWS

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“Our SLA target is to deliver wills within five days from point of order. Since moving to Iron Mountain InSight®, we’ve seen average delivery time for both paper-based and digital wills reduce to just three days.”

- Stephen Burgess, Family Probate Jurisdictional and Operational Support Manager, HM Courts & Tribunals Service

CHALLENGE

In its role to deliver probate services across England and Wales, HMCTS wanted to improve the experience for users of its online will search-and-order service, while increasing scope for future innovation.

SOLUTION

Iron Mountain InSight uses Amazon Textract ML to read, process and sort wills, extracting content accurately from typed and handwritten text.

RESULTS

Along with a transformed website, HMCTS can deliver better, faster outcomes for probate users, genealogists, solicitors, and the public.

CONSTANT QUEST FOR SERVICE INNOVATION

“We’re always keen to learn about emerging technologies and Iron Mountain are very good at coming to us with interesting ideas.”

- Stephen Burgess, Family Probate Jurisdictional and Operational Support Manager, HM Courts & Tribunals Service

PRESERVING LEGAL DOCUMENTS DATING BACK TO 1858

Over 41 million records and growing

Under UK law wills must be kept in perpetuity and made available to anyone who wants to see them. That could be for an individual or solicitor involved with probate, a genealogist or relative researching a family tree, or those curious about the last wishes of popular figures like Charles Dickens, Sir Winston Churchill, and Lady Diana.

In England and Wales, the responsibility to securely store and provide access to these legal documents falls to the Probate Service, which is part of HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS). “The archive dates back to 1858,” explains Stephen Burgess, Family Probate Jurisdictional and Operational Support Manager at HMCTS. “It comprises over 41 million probate records and is growing by around 250,000 wills each year.”

Always looking to improve

Proud to partner HMCTS for over two decades, Iron Mountain created the Probate Records Centre, a purpose-built facility in Birmingham to centralise and standardise records management. As well as storage, the service includes the retrieval and fulfilment of copy documents for orders placed via the Probate Service website.

Between 1858 and 1972 every Probate Registry maintained a calendar in book form (known as the Ledger, in which grants of Probate were recorded). Over the years, Iron Mountain scanning specialists digitised some of those records, but many remained in fragile paper form.

To digitise the Ledger, Iron Mountain’s solution would look at surnames in the top right-hand corner of the page and scan and capture those details as metadata. That meant search results might contain a list of names, which website users would then have to physically trawl through for the correct will. Users would then place the will retrieval order. While this system was effective, there was plenty of scope for improvement.

“We’re always keen to learn about emerging technologies and Iron Mountain are very good at coming to us with interesting ideas,” says Burgess. “So, we wanted to hear more about their Iron Mountain InSight platform and how it could be applied to our online wills service to improve efficiency and furnish a better user experience.”

EMPLOYING ADVANCED TECHNIQUES LIKE MACHINE LEARNING AND ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

“When a will is requested online, Iron Mountain InSight checks to see if it has already been digitised and, if so, delivers the document within minutes.”

- Stephen Burgess, Family Probate Jurisdictional and Operational Support Manager, HM Courts & Tribunals Service

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Iron Mountain InSight
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Instantly available

pre-digitised wills
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Meeting GOV.UK site standards

with increased search accuracy and speed

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A single records interface

and simplified user experience

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Constantly-evolving capabilities

for wider integration and search functions

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