ECR Key Principles
The ECR Program was designed to help the King County Clerk's Office do its job better and better, and to share the benefits of electronic records with the whole user community. Below are some key principles:
- The official record should be the electronic copy taken by the Clerk from a source document filed by someone for inclusion in the case file.
- It is far more effective to process a large flow of papers as images, using whichever workflow or other organizing software tools are most appropriate to the locality.
- When developing the electronic court record, include as many other perspectives as you can, so the end product will be a tool beneficial to everyone, not just focused on one agency.
- Design ECR from the Clerk's perspective. At the center of the records, one must accommodate the needs of other justice system partners who contribute to and/or use the official case files.
- There should be a clear understanding regarding ownership and responsibility for an ECR system. King County chose to maintain full control and did not engage vendors to take care of scanning, accessing records, or other functions that were thought to be the responsibility of the Clerk.
- Records must be captured with care both when scanning and when checking the results against the original filings. Security measures are actions that staff take, not software tools that "guarantee" records have integrity.
- Have a responsible backup and security component and budget for ongoing maintenance.
- ECR is not a gimmick. It is a different, better way for everyone to use documents in court files.
- Plan the program in distinct stages, each yielding benefits even if later stages remain undone.
- Develop written protocols to clarify expectations with key stakeholders.
- Show the benefits for each of the user groups, not just the Clerk or Court, since this promotes a sense of ownership.