Protecting the Public Interest - DEFRA

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DEFRA saves money and the environment by outsourcing document management to Iron Mountain


DEFRA was faced with London building closures and the sheer complexity of managing hundreds of thousands of files


Outsourcing document storage, access, and shredding to Iron Mountain with extra security for documents in transit


Better customer service from faster turnaround, and environmental benefits from online access; one project saved £225,000 a year

“Iron Mountain has a real grasp of the opportunities open to us. They are always suggesting new ideas to help us to maximise efficiencies and their expertise means they can deal with the large workflows DEFRA produces.”

Mike Kaye
Head of Archive Services DEFRA


The UK Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) tackles climate change, ensures food safety, and oversees the farming and fishery sectors. Its information management requirements are complex and, as with all public sector organisations, it is constantly seeking to maximise value for money.

In 2002, with the impending closure of one of its largest facilities in Hayes, Middlesex, DEFRA initiated a review of its document storage needs. Outdated manual processes meant that finding a single file among the 500,000 kept there could take at least 30 minutes, impacting productivity and customer response times. Worse, aged files held in Hayes had to be sent to Alnwick for review — a round trip of nearly 600 miles — to decide whether they should be retained, destroyed, or sent to the National Archives.

DEFRA chose to outsource the task to Iron Mountain. The transfer of the archive was completed in tight timescales — within deadline, to budget, and with the minimum of business disruption.