Are Managing Gift Aid Forms costing you money?

Are you a charitable organisation reliant largely on the kindness of members of the public to bring in donations to help those less fortunate than ourselves? In these straightened times charities are increasingly looking to maximise the income that can be generated from donations by encouraging donors to complete Gift Aid forms. These allow the charities to claim back the tax paid by private individuals which can then boost the value of the donation, once sold, by 25%.

Charities have to keep accurate copies of the Gift Aid forms to prove they can claim the tax back – and that can be a problem. Imagine dozens of different branches generating hundreds of forms each year? Where can they be stored and how easily can they be retrieved? The retention of this vital authorisation data is critical and can cost charities tens of thousands of pounds if not done correctly. But, how is the best way to capture this data so that it can be easily retrieved?

Well, the good news is we can help and have provided a service for some of the largest charities already. How?

We provide Gift Aid form scanning, uploaded to a UK based Cloud transfer software solution and processes compliant with Data Protection GDPR rules.

We have over 20 years’ experience in offering data management services and project delivery to charities seeking to reduce risk, become more efficient and increase funding.

We are able to collect your Gift Aid forms from your high street shops or a central office. Our modern highly secure warehouse facilities are expertly staffed for all your collections and storage needs.

We prepare all documents prior to scanning by removing any staples, paper clips etc and we make sure each form is legible and all the data required for capture is present before scanning.

We can scan and capture the donor ID number on each form if needed and any hand written information.  We then validate all documents scanned and when quality checked, the images can be uploaded to our BOX cloud UK based online image repository or returned to you on a hard drive or USB stick if preferred.

We can process all on going donor forms as well and add these to your database. After the scanning process we are able to securely destroy all of the paperwork processed and issue a Certificate of Destruction for full traceability.

The benefits of Gift Aid Scanning-

  1. Accuracy: Charities can quickly verify a donor’s eligibility and integrate the information into their own systems, enabling faster acknowledgment and appreciation of the donors’ contributions.
  2. Compliance and reporting: Digitally stored accurate records are essential for compliance. Our Gift Aid scanning service makes it easier for charities to maintain records and generate accurate reports for tax and auditing purposes.
  3. Efficiency and Cost savings: Gift Aid scanning reduces the time and effort required for staff searching through boxes of paper work to find forms. A simple search can be done in seconds for the required document from a desktop, laptop or tablet, freeing up staff and volunteers to focus on more meaningful tasks. The long-term savings in terms of reduced errors searching for paperwork can be substantial. You benefit from speed and enhanced security of your documentation.
  4. Tried and tested scanning system: We already work for some of the largest charities, have a proven track record of success and can provide testimonials on request.

To find out more about our Gift Aid scanning services please contact us today to discuss your requirements without obligation by

 Email   or phone free on 0800 008 7229.

As an added benefit to your charity by quoting GA024 on completion of your first order we will offer a discount in the form of a donation to your charity.

Schools are back and peace reigns- time for a clear out!

Back to school clear outListen! Can you hear that? Yes, that empty, echoey sound. Don’t recognise it, do you? Allow us to remind you – it’s called silence, something that for home workers and parents has been sorely lacking over the last few weeks. Now the kids are back at school, life can get back to normal. If you are working from home or going back to the office again take this opportunity to clear your working spaces and give yourself or your business more room to breathe – you will feel much better for it!

Spring may be the traditional time for a clear out, but we think September is a much more sensible option. After all, you’ve undoubtedly got an office that’s been rather neglected since that final school bell rang way, waaaaay back in July. Having a back-to-school / back-to-work clear out is pretty therapeutic (honest) and will at the very least help you delay the start of actual work for a day or two.

So, how can we help? Well, one thing we offer here at Scan Film or Store is the gift of space i.e. document scanning. We can scan anything from the contents of lever arch files to receipts, old bank statements, large technical drawings, archived employee records to… well, you get the picture. Anything that’s currently clogging up dusty shelves, filing cabinets or quite possibly whole rooms where no one dares to venture.

Here’s the science bit:

  • We use top quality Kodak and Canon document scanning equipment and are ISO 9001 certified, so you’ll always get accurate, high-quality results.
  • We can output digital images in .pdf, pdf/a, .tif or .jpg format, in colour, greyscale or black and white.
  • We also offer a full indexing service and optical character recognition (OCR) of .pdf documents, creating ‘digital filing cabinets’ and readable, searchable documents.

Really helpful, right?

There are then three options for the originals. We could give them back to you, although that would rather defeat the object. Instead, option two is that we can store them in our secure, dry and protected premises in Bridgwater. We use an advanced barcode tracking system, logging everything within our auditable document storage system, so they’ll always be easy to find and retrieve.

Or, option three, if you don’t actually need your originals anymore, is that we can destroy them for you. And we don’t mean chuck them in the bin out back – this is high tech stuff, with cross shredding and pulping (the pulp is then recycled, so it’s good for the environment too!). We can also destroy CDs and DVDs, computer hard drives, microfilm and lots of other things, so do add those to you ‘get rid of’ list too.

If you need help decluttering your home or office, call us free on 0800 008 7229 or contact us here and we can talk you through the best options to suit your needs and your budget (the initial chat is free and without obligation, of course). After all, it’ll be Christmas before you know it, so you need to make room for all those presents!



5 Reasons to Scan your Vital HR, Finance and Quality Documents


As more companies offer their staff either fully remote or hybrid working their HR, Finance and Quality departments have had to adapt the way they work to enable staff to access their documents from home.

5 reasons to scan your HR and other vital documents-

1. Remote/Hybrid (office & home) working

Businesses that offer staff remote, or hybrid, working have to ensure that all authorised staff can access documents that they need to fulfil their role and contribute to the ongoing productivity of the company they work for.

Utilising Cloud storage solutions scanned documents are available all day, every day, from both home and office locations and allow business teams to work together on the same documents. This is the best solution for both the business and staff member – a better work/life balance for the staff and a happier, more productive employee for the business.

2. Easy to find documents

Replicating existing filing systems and file structures makes finding documents much easier – no more scrabbling around in dark and dusty archive storerooms! Indexing (naming) the files by following protocols already known and understood by staff means the retrieval of vital documents becomes effortless. Mix this with the application of OCR (Optical Character Recognition) to the scanned documents and vast databases of information can be interrogated for words or phrases wherever they appear in HR, Finance or Quality files reducing time spent searching and improving efficiency.

Documents that have been scanned and integrated into business systems play a major part in Digital Transformation in a business, increasing efficiency, reducing document processing time and of course costs.

3. Scanning improves document security

With changes to the world climate increasing dramatically the occurrence of fires and floods is an increasing threat to paper documents as neither fire or floods are good for them! Combine that with the ever-present threat of damage or theft it is important to reduce the risk of permanent loss of vital or irreplaceable data.

By scanning documents, the risks are greatly reduced as digital files can be backed up to external hard drives or encrypted cloud storage creating peace of mind and business continuity in the event of loss or damage.

4. Free up office space and reduce operating costs

Many businesses, post-COVID, are reducing their office footprints by introducing ‘hot desks’ for hybrid staff and this, along with remote working staff, results in companies needing less space. At the same time companies are significantly saving costs, reducing the space used for storing hard copy original documents by scanning their document archives.

5. GDPR retention policies

It is easier to achieve retention policies using documents that have been scanned rather than the paper files as varied document types can be both quickly found and the process of renewal or updating documents can be managed more effectively, saving time for the business teams accessing the documents.

At the time this blog was put together the press was full of large-scale data breaches of very sensitive personal data – huge issues for the organisations who were supposed to be protecting the data. Whilst some of the breaches were down to ‘human error’ the fundamental fact remains that personal and business critical data when held in a secure digital environment is much safer than a hard copy document archive often out of sight of scrutiny and more often not even secured. GDPR requirements are legion and getting them wrong can be a very costly experience.

For more information on GDPR go to

If your company is looking to get documents scanned we can help, see our scanning process.

We collect throughout the South West, South East and Midlands and can provide a no obligation (free) cost estimate for your project. Contact our team today!

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

This year, instead of sending out Christmas Cards, we are once again donating to the Trussell Trust, which provides UK wide food bank support to those in desperate need and who are unable to feed their families (

We want to thank you very much indeed for your support either as valued clients or superb suppliers or business friends during a year which has been a tricky ride for small businesses like ours.

We will be open until 4.30 pm on Thursday 22nd December and will be back to work on Tuesday 3rd January at 8am.

We hope that you have a lovely Christmas and wish you, your families and colleagues health and prosperity in 2023.

Merry Christmas!

Mark, John, Sophie and all at Scan Film or Store

The Ultimate Guide to Choosing a Document Storage Company

It’s surprising how long making a decision can take. So it’s not surprising really that business owners can get themselves all knotted up over something like which document storage company to go with. After all, if we do say so ourselves, it’s a pretty important decision. There’s valuable data at stake; you don’t want to be handing it over to some bloke with a warehouse recommended by your mate in the pub.

That’s why we’ve given you a few things to think about when choosing a document storage company, to help you avoid the cowboys and make a decision you’ll be happy with.

Your document storage company should be able to help you create a brief

Beyond knowing that you want someone to please, please make all the paperwork go away, do you actually know exactly what it is that you need? If the answer is no, you’re not alone. Why should you understand the ins and outs of document storage? You’re an expert at what you do. That’s why a good document storage company should be able to ask you the right questions to help you work out a thorough brief. Like how often you’ll need to access your document, whether they’ll need storing long or short term, or whether you actually need paper records at all. It could be that you’d be better off with a scanning and secure data destruction package, to create easily-accessible, mega space saving digital records instead.

They should have top notch security

This may sound a bit obvious, but the document storage company you choose should be able to guarantee the safety of your valuable documents. And not just by storing them in a facility that’s alarmed, protected and monitored. They also need to be thinking about the environmental conditions (we’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again – paper doesn’t like the damp, mould does), not to mention rodents (who have a surprising penchant for paper archives). Oh, and they need a good barcoding system, like we have, so your files don’t simply disappear amongst the many thousands of others they’re storing.

They should be certified to industry standards

It’s not enough for your document storage company to say they’re good at what they do. They really ought to be able to prove it. Here are some of the reassurances we can offer:

  • ISO 9001:2015 certification, which we’ve held since 2015 and we were one of the first in the industry to achieve it!
  • Information Commissioners Office (ICO) registration, with our company details published on the open register. Our certificate number is Z6020186.
  • An information governance framework of robust policies and procedures, audited annually by a certified data protection. All our policies and procedures comply with our responsibilities as a Data Controller under the Data Protection Act (2018), Privacy Electronic Communication Regulations (PECR) and UK GDPR.
  • A company data protection training policy, including the provision of regular training for all Scan Film or Store employees, putting our client’s personal data at the forefront of everything we do
  • BS7858 compliance, which means we’re all security vetted and have had our DBS checks too.
  • A fully documented business continuity plan, which means we can keep working and protecting your documents in the case of a catastrophic event.
  • A comprehensive Health & Safety policy, including regularly updated risk assessments, PAT tests and electrical testing across all our premises.

They should offer you a bespoke service

No two companies are the same. Well ok, there are similarities. But still – whether you’re a school or a hospital or a firm of architects or an Aerospace Engineering business, your document storage needs are going to be just that little bit different to the next school or hospital or firm of architects or Aerospace Engineering business. A standard ‘one size fits all’ approach isn’t going to be as efficient as a bespoke solution, neither is it going to help you make the most of your budget. That’s why we meet with all our clients and even do a sample job when there’s scanning involved, so you can work out exactly what you need and pay only for that.

So for goodness sake, don’t stick a pin in the Yellow Pages or go for the cheapest option on the market. There’s nothing financially prudent about sticking vital business data in the care of anyone you don’t completely trust.

Want to give us the once over and see whether we meet your standards? contact us here and one of the team will be happy to help, FREE of charge!

What if you lost your laptop?

Did you know that there is a World Backup Day?

Well there is and it’s 31st March each year! The day reminds us to protect our precious digital documents as we become more and more reliant on technology and stresses the importance of regular backups. The proposed solution is to backup all your data in three different places (3-2-1 strategy) – one copy on your computer/tablet, one on an external storage device (USB stick or hard drive) and another offsite on a cloud storage solution.

I am sure that like me you ALL back up your data regularly (yeah, right!) but when the time comes to replace outdated PC’s or external hard drives how do you ensure that your precious data is not going to end up being accessed by criminals?

In a recent survey less than 20% of businesses across the UK said that they were shredding their computer hard drives. Over half the businesses thought that erasing, wiping or degaussing their hard drives before recycling them would completely obliterate the data  and protect their confidential information from being stolen or misused. To complete the statistics 14% said that they simply recycled their electronic media without even wiping the data and 12% said that they had no idea how their business disposed of it’s out of date or obsolete computers, data storage devices or smartphones. When asked a staggering 72% of businesses did not know that most photocopiers have an electronic memory that can be used to reproduce exact images of all documents that have been copied on that machine using forensic software programmes (available free online).

It’s a fact that the only way to completely destroy data held electronically is to destroy the hardware that carries the data.

Methods of destruction vary from incineration to turning hard drives into minute metal fragments (for more information see here)

“It would never happen in our company”

You may think that but British Airways was recently fined £20 MILLION by the Information Commissioner’s Office after data was stolen which contained personal and financial details of more than 400,000 of it’s customers Oct 2020 (read more about it here) . Although this particular data breach was a ‘hack’ of the main BA system, data being lost or stolen and unprotected by even basic password protection or encryption of laptops, external hard drives and USB sticks is depressingly common. Even as far back as 2013 household name businesses have received six figure fines for failing to take the appropriate measures to protect legacy customer data on their hard drives or USB’s. Fines and reputational damage that follow the loss and exploitation of such data can ruin any business.

It is estimated that 91% of corporate laptops and desktops contain sensitive data and that the average cost to rectify a single record breach is £219 in compensation and management/staff  time. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) recently tested 158 used hard drives and recovered 92% of sensitive information which included credit card numbers, emails, medical records, names and contact numbers.

So what can you do?

It is worth implementing some best practices in your workplace to avoid data theft, including:

  • Avoid stockpiling unused hard drives (laptop & desktop towers) USB’s and disks particularly in unsecured locations
  • Regularly clean out hardware storage facilities
  • Destroy all unused hard drives/USB’s/CD&DVD disks using reputable specialist providers who have a secure chain of custody which will provide you with peace of mind and will ensure that your data is kept out of the hands of fraudsters
  • Regularly review your organisation’s information security policy to incorporate new and emerging forms of electronic media

Scan Film or Store will permanently destroy all types of your electronic media utilising a secure chain of custody including collection by our own staff in our own vehicles, recording of the items serial numbers at point of collection and will issue a Certificate of Destruction for your files detailing what has been destroyed. Destruction methods vary according to the media type i.e. hard drives are turned into tiny metal chips whereas microfilm and magnetic computer tape is incinerated.(learn more about our services here)

We can destroy:

  • Hard Drives ( from any kind of desktops or laptops)
  • USB/Pen
  • Flash drives/Portable External Hard Drives
  • Backup Magnetic Tapes (any kind of DLT, mini cartridges etc)
  • Floppy Disks (both 3.5 and 5.25 inch disks)
  • Optical Media (CD’s, DVD’s, Blu Ray and HD DVD’s)

If you would like some free advice on how to protect your unused data please contact us here

A Christmas message from Scan Film or Store

Merry Christmas!

Once again this year instead of sending hard copy Christmas Cards we are donating instead to a worthy charity, the Trussell Trust, which provides UK wide food bank support to those in real need during these expensive and uncertain times (

We want to thank you very much indeed for your support either as valued clients or superb suppliers during a year which has been a bumpy ride for small businesses like ours.


We will be open until 4pm on Thursday 23rd December and will be back to work on Tuesday 4th January at 8am.

We hope that you have a lovely Christmas and wish you, your families and colleagues health and prosperity in 2021. Please look after yourselves – you are very important to us all here at Scan Film Store.

Mark, John and all at Scan Film or Store

Relocating staff to home offices? Should we scan or store our archive documents as part of that move?

SFS scan vs store - document storage and scanning

The transfer of staff from working in company offices to working from home is accelerating as the effects of the pandemic stabilise and staff return to permanent or new ways of working. But what do you do with the valuable or essential archive documents currently stored onsite? There are options to consider.

Here at Scan Film or Store we offer both document scanning and document storage services (among other things). While choice is always a good thing, it does pose a potential dilemma to clients who aren’t sure which option is the right one for them.

We’re always happy to sit down with people and work out a plan that suits their particular business needs. But in the meantime, we’ve come up with this list of questions to get you thinking about the kinds of things that will help you decide which route to go down.

1) How often do you need to access your records?

This is the first and most important question you should be asking yourself. If you need information on a daily basis, having your records stored off site – even if it is just down the road – will be a nightmare. In fact, even storing them on site can be a waste of time if you or one of your team is spending half their working day in the archive room ferreting around in dusty boxes for whatever is needed. Far easier to have everything scanned so you can access it at the touch of a button from laptops or p.c’s.

2) How quickly do you need to be able to access your records?

If your answer to question one is “not very often”, off site document storage could be the answer for you. However it may be that when you do need a document, you need to be able to get your hands on it really quickly. In that case, you either need to make sure your storage company is local and able to provide a rapid scan on demand or delivery service (which we do, in case you were wondering). Or you’re better off getting your documents scanned so you eliminate any wait time. This is especially important if your internal processes or quality systems require you to be able to produce certain documents within a specific time frame (e.g. for auditors).

3) Will you be required to produce an original at any point?

There are some documents that are only valid in their original hard copy form. For example, in the aerospace industry, if a Certificate of Conformity were to be needed, only the original would do. In this case it is important that the documents are securely stored, ideally with the environmental controls and security checks that a professional storage company like Scan Film or Store can offer.

4) How long do you need to keep your records?

There are some archive documents – like financial records and pupil files – which you’re unlikely ever to use again but which you might be required by law to keep for a certain period of time. In that case you will need to store the originals, and a professional off site storage company almost certainly offers the best security for this kind of important document. If you also need frequent or very fast access to these documents, however, you might want to consider getting them scanned as well.

5) Do you prefer to send documents electronically or by post?

If you want – or need – to send your documents by post, you can either photocopy your hard copy originals or print out copies from electronic ones. So either scanning or storing would work. But if you’re going to be sending them electronically then it makes sense to have your documents stored electronically, rather than having to scan hard copies before they can be sent. In this case, scanning will save you a lot of time and effort in the long run.

6) Will your documents need to be destroyed at any point?

If you’re holding onto documents simply because you’re legally required to, you will most likely want to destroy them once you’re allowed to do so. Boxes of paper files are more easily destroyed, especially if you track boxes by date, which we do here at Scan Film or Store with our special barcoding system. Electronic data (ie scanned archives) can be harder to keep track of, which can make destruction that bit more complex, especially if you keep backups on different servers.

7) What’s your budget?

In the short term, scanning is more expensive than storage. So if cost is an issue, you might want to consider getting your documents stored. However, take the time to work out your longer term calculations. Because while scanning is a bigger initial outlay, it’s not ongoing in the same way as the monthly rental cost of off site storage. And don’t be fooled into thinking that your best bet is storing everything in your own premises. When you work out the cost of your rent or the maintenance of your own premises, you’d be surprised at how reasonable professional storage actually is.

If you’re still not quite sure whether you need to scan your documents, store them, or go for a combination of the two, contact us here. One of the team will be able to talk you through some more individual questions to help you figure out the perfect solution for your business or organisation.

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

This year, instead of sending hard copy Christmas Cards we are donating to two charities. The first is the Pahar Trust Nepal which provides schools and medical rooms for remote Nepalese communities still suffering from the devastating 2015 earthquake which claimed nearly 9,000 lives and injured 22,000 more. (More information here: and the other is the Trussell Trust which provides UK wide food bank support in these difficult times (

We want to thank you very much indeed for your support either as valued clients or superb suppliers during the extraordinary past year. Quite simply we could not have survived without you.


We will be open until 4pm on Wednesday 23rd December and will be back to work on Monday 4th January at 8am.

We hope that you have a lovely Christmas and wish you health and prosperity in 2021. In the meantime please take care of yourselves – we want to see you next year!

Merry Christmas to you and your family!

Mark, John and all at Scan Film or Store

Why now is the best time to declutter your office

Spring cleaning – it’s so last year.  After working from home or a deserted office space and enjoying a hedonistic summer of barbecues (we wish!) , day drinking (just us??) and getting sunburned(really), it’s time to get back to reality. And nothing helps focus the mind like a good old spring… sorry, autumn clear out.

There are plenty of reasons why we prefer to schedule our decluttering as the weather gets colder. In fact, the weather is part of it. After all, the fact that it’s getting cooler means you’re less likely to get all hot and bothered while lugging boxes around. Also, we’re going into the season where we will be spending more time indoors and that means you want to get rid of all that annoying clutter that will make you feel stir crazy if you don’t.

Autumn decluttering isn’t just for your house. Given that you have probably actually spent more time in your home over the last few months of lockdown than you have in the office, it’s worth starting there. And there is plenty of evidence that your working environment whether that be working from home or back into the office can hugely affect your productivity. So if you need a way to convince your boss that spending a couple of days ignoring clients and focusing on clearing out the store cupboard is a genuinely good idea, just show them that article. Or if you are the boss, now you have a legitimate reason for getting your team to tidy up and create a comfortable and productive workspace ready for the Autumn and Winter months.

Of course, as every seasoned declutterer (it definitely is a word, no matter what autocorrect thinks) knows, it’s important to have a plan. So here are some tips from us because, if we do say so ourselves, getting organised is something we’re really very good at.

How to declutter like a pro

Good decluttering is one of those things that actually makes your environment look more chaotic to start with. That’s because the best thing to do is to unpack everything so you can see what you have. You’ll be surprised how much you can shove into a filing cabinet when you try and don’t get us started on archive rooms. Don’t worry, it does get better though.

Once you’ve sussed out how much is there, you need to make a plan of action to sift through it and get it organised. So for example, you might want to begin by throwing away / shredding / incinerating anything that you no longer need. Remember that if this detritus includes confidential waste, you’ll need to destroy it properly. You don’t want internal memos appearing in the local press now do you? And before you ask, no, standard office shredders aren’t particularly effective. Especially if you’re destroying micro format items like microfiche or microfilm.

Next step is to group what remains in a sensible sort of a way. It’s no good having your stock or invoices or packs of post-it notes divided across an arbitrary number of cupboards or shelves or filing cabinets scattered around the office. There needs to be method in the madness.

Storage – a thing of beauty

Once you know what needs to be stored and in what sort of order, it’s time to figure out WHERE. So here you have a few choices. You can dedicate one room or part of a room to storage. You can install shelving, invest in decent archive boxes, and even create a colour coded labelling system.

Just remember that certain things, such as paper, are quite fussy about their environmental conditions. Much like toddlers, they don’t like to be damp, they don’t like sunshine, they don’t like to be gnawed by rodents.

Of course, you could also get someone else to take care of all that for you. Offsite document storage is honestly the best and we’re really not just saying it because it’s our business. Here are a few reasons we think you’ll agree are pretty convincing:

  • It saves you so much space – space you can do all manner of cool stuff with or maybe even downsize your office?
  • You’ll always know where your documents are – we barcode the boxes in our custom built storage warehouse so we can lay our hands on any of them within minutes.
  • Your documents will be safe – from the elements, from fire, from thieves, all thanks to the climate control and security measures we have in place.
  • It will be so much easier to get hold of documents – like we said, we can get hold of any of the documents we store within a few short moments and we can also courier them over to you or scan and email copies.
  • You’ll save loads of time – just think of those wasted hours spent getting dusty in archive rooms or cursing the collapsing hanging files in that rickety filing cabinet.

If you access your archive records regularly a scanning solution may be the most cost effective solution to transfer your paper records and documents to digital accessible records – we do that too  read more here

Doing an effective autumn clear out takes a little thought and planning and a bit of hard work, but it’s so worth it. Just think how good you’ll feel once it’s done. And if you need some help or encouragement, contact us here.

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