As part of Wyre Forest District Council's push to continuously increase efficiency and improve performance, workers at the Depot based at Green Street Kidderminster got to grips with the latest App technology to help manage and mitigate corporate safety risk for the authority.
Adam Stockhall, Place Co-ordinator and Adam Cooper, Play Inspector at the Depot were given access to an App which they accessed on iPads. They piloted the use of the Play Inspection App from November 2015 to enable the team to carry out statutory inspections and monitor corporate safety risk issues.
Designed for qualified Inspectors, the App was created and developed by Play Inspection Company specifically to record and monitor service inspections.
Typical inspections for the council include measuring safety facilities and equipment in its playgrounds, parks and open spaces. Completing an inspection of 19 sites across Wyre Forest has historically taken anything up to a week to complete using paper recording (see photograph of the volume of paper required to complete just one inspection).
To complete an inspection on the App, a series of questions is worked through, usually accompanied by a photograph of the site in question, each with a built in service prompt if anything significant changes in terms of the risk factor (see the photograph showing the App screen on the iPad).
An average inspection using the App takes around 5 - 10 minutes and as every recording is collected, the data cannot be overwritten until the problem is fully resolved and recorded as such. This means if another qualified colleague were to pick up the inspection the information would be completely up to date.
Adam Cooper said
"The benefits of the App system include standardising the information collected to ensure benchmarking is accurate. Our insurers are happy because they can see we are measuring the right things and that we can take immediate action if the risk changes. The technology on the App means that if a risk changes such as a gate shows signs of corrosion, an email prompt is generated to send off a service action so that the issue will be addressed promptly.
Time saving is a major benefit of this approach and we estimate we are saving at least one or two man days per week on corporate safety risk monitoring because we no longer have lots of paperwork to be scanned and processed after each inspection.
Adam Stockhall said
"The Play Inspection App has already completely transformed the parks and play inspection work programme. Using technology in this way is definitely the way for us to go to continue to improve our service. We now have 6 or our Inspectors trained to use the App, so we know we are covered in terms of capacity. We can now do up to 10 inspections per day - unheard of before the App, which means we use the time we have saved, doing the maintenance required. The inspection process has been reduced by 4 steps to 2 which we are very proud of."
In addition to the efficiency savings, the initial financial investment in the App technology of £2,950 will be recouped as the council will be saving on potential insurance claims associated with this type of risk factors.
Councillor Ian Hardiman, Wyre Forest District Council's Cabinet Member for Operational Services said,
"We take our corporate risk management seriously and this is an excellent result from a piece of work designed to improve our efficiency in how information is collected and stored. It should also better support the prevention of accidents and provide robust evidence in defending public liability claims. The pilot scheme has been taken through to a positive conclusion so we will be adopting this approach even further and rolled out to other service areas. "