Using OpusConsult to improve efficiency

1 November 2017
Daniel Bradley

OpusConsult is designed to be an effective hub for all of your local plan needs, right through to adoption. The tools included within your software will allow you control over all aspects of your process, and by taking advantage of all tools at your disposal, you can improve efficiency, reduce workload, and unburden yourself from many stressful activities you would otherwise be doing outside of our system!

Below we have detailed some useful tips on how to get the best out of OpusConsult.

1. Encourage participation from members of the public

The more of the work you can offload to commenters, the better. Not only does this free up your time, but giving the users control over their representations makes them feel more comfortable with what they are submitting. Having to manually make records of representations sent to your through email and snail mail can be a real burden, so by encouraging the users and making them aware that they can use OpusConsult and enter reps themselves, everybody wins! We covered this in great detail over three previous blog posts, but in short, you should ensure that your public facing OpusConsult portal is easily accessible on your website, promoted through the use of social media and mail-outs,  and if possible, arrange workshops to show people just how easy it is to "do it yourself".

2. Break up your documents in to as many pieces as possible

If you are a seasoned user of OpusConsult, you will be familiar with our 'Document Tree' tool. A great advantage of our system is that you can add as many commentable points within your document as you like. Take advantage of this feature and break your document up, rather than allowing a user to make a comment on the document as a whole, or sections, try allowing them to comment on specific paragraphs. By allowing users to comment on specific parts of your document it makes the admin side far easier down the line.

3. Use our tools for contacting users

Rather than exporting your user data, we have the tools that allow you to send emails and letters within the system. If you want to create a mail shot, or send out confirmation letters, use our tools! By keeping contact with your users within the system, you can ensure that you always have an up-to-date version of the database with all the information at hand. You can also use our tools to easily filter and divide who you are sending what to. Perhaps you want to contact those interested in a certain document, those without an email address, or those who are agents. The power is in your hands.

4. Take advantage of our search tools

Of the search tools available in OpusConsult, our favourite is the Rep ID search. Every representation in your system has a unique number assigned to it, and by making note and entering that number on your dashboard, you can go directly to that representation without any trouble! If you don't have all of the information around a rep, we have provided a variety of search functions so that you can search by name, address, area of interest, text in rep, those who have objected, and even set date parameters for when a user signed up.

5. Keep your system tidy and organised

Don't worry, we have tools for this too! There are many simple tasks that can be undertaken within OpusConsult to help keep your data tidy. Got a duplicate person record? Try the 'Merge Person' tool. Old consultations clogging up your public facing home page? Click the 'Hide document' option. Create a clean and simple workspace for yourself.

6. Explore the system

There are so many tools available within OpusConsult that even we couldn't name them all off the top of our heads! Explore the system, explore our user guides and help articles (do a ctrl+F search to look for key words you are interested in). If the task is within your consulting process, there is probably a tool in the system for you!