Canal & River Trust


The Canal & River Trust (CRT) are responsible for the maintenance and management of 2,000 miles of waterways in England and Wales. Launched in 2012, CRT took over the responsibilities of the state-owned British Waterways and they have established themselves as a trusted guardian of the historic inland waterways. They are passionate about the impact that they can have on local communities and significant effort is made to deliver greater wellbeing to millions of people.

Growing pressure on income streams had been compounded by the impact of the coronavirus and CRT was therefore looking for ways to gain financial efficiencies. A review had highlighted the significant cost of their office estate across the UK and they were therefore looking at ways to reduce this space. SCC DS were able to propose an off-site digital mail solution, which not only removed the need for their on-site mailing facility, but also enabled agile working initiatives and reduced the CRT’s reliance on their physical office space.

The Challenge

As was the case for many businesses, Covid-19 and the resulting national lockdown in March 2020, highlighted the restrictions caused by traditional, paper based office processes. For CRT the inbound mail service in particular, as well as their outbound mail and general printing requirements, limited the success of their home working initiatives.

Inbound mail from all UK offices was redirected to the CRT head office in Leeds, where departmental staff were having to attend the office to sort the mail and forward onto the recipient, either as a scanned image or as a physical letter depending on the confidentiality and urgency of the mail item.

Again, the aforementioned outbound mail tasks had become very disruptive, time consuming and costly in terms of both materials, labour and lost productivity.

The Solution

SCC were an existing supplier of IT infrastructure, desktop support and software to CRT, and the specialist Document Services division of SCC was introduced to help support CRT with their agile working initiatives.

SCC Document Services (SCC DS) provided a solution to centralise and digitise both inbound and outbound mail via their Document Processing Units (DPU) in Manchester and Birmingham.

SCC DS worked closely with CRT facilities management teams to define specific business rules for the processing and distribution of mail. This was conducted by analysing existing temporary Covid-19 procedures and by liaising with department stakeholders to understand their individual requirements for both inbound and outbound mail.



CRT now benefit from a number of operational and financial benefits including:

  • Financial efficiencies – savings through improvements in staff productivity.
  • Facilitates agile / remote working – with a uniform way of receiving and sending mail regardless of location.
  • Improved reactivity to customer communications – CRT staff now receive inbound communication earlier, with the distribution of mail down to less than 2hrs from receipt.
  • Mitigated business interruption during Covid-19 lockdown– SCC DS were able to quickly implement the solution, with very light customer IT involvement and minimal resource requirements from CRT.
  • Improved governance – with a full audit trail for all inbound and outbound correspondence.
  • Improved business management information – with granular reporting provided to aid and develop the Trust’s communication strategy.


« As is the case for many businesses, the past 12 months and the Covid-19 pandemic have presented a number of significant challenges. SCC DS were able to quickly understand our requirements and rapidly implement a solution that allowed us to continue to operate in a very turbulent landscape. The introduction of a digital inbound and outbound mail service has allowed our staff to continue to operate effectively from any location. Our relationship with SCC DS has continued to grow and develop, as they present further service enhancements and digital innovations. »

Claire Skeels, National Facilities Manager