Fermanagh and Omagh District Council
Fermanagh and Omagh District Council has been established as one of the eleven new NI councils introduced via the Local Government Reform Programme. The new Council area was created following the merger of Fermanagh District Council and Omagh District Council.
The Council’s staff are committed to providing an extensive range of services which has a widely dispersed local community. This involves staff travelling to quite remote areas, often alone.
For example, Building Control Officers may be away from the office for lengthy periods as they make essential site visits. Mindful of its safety obligations, the Council recognised that Officers were exposed to the dangers associated with construction sites. However, they had no effective means of raising the alarm if they were in difficulty. Where an Officer was due to be away from the office all day, the Council felt it was unacceptable to depend on an alarm being raised by the Officer’s family on their non-appearance at the end of a working day.
Peoplesafe met with the Council’s team to discuss their needs and explore a number of options.
Various systems were explained and demonstrated, and a trial period was agreed. The pilot would be a system based on the use of Council-issued mobile phones. This was facilitated by Peoplesafe who provided a training session for the staff involved.
Following the successful trial, Fermanagh and Omagh District Council opted to roll-out the system to Building Control Officers, Dog Wardens and Pest Control Officers. Again, Peoplesafe provided a full training package. Their specialist staff trainers visited the Council to provide bespoke training and ensure all Council staff were completely comfortable with operating the new system before it went ‘live’.
The service chosen by the Council combines the use of mobile phones with a fully accredited Alarm Receiving Centre. Council staff can now log a proposed site visit giving an estimated time for completion. If staff fail to check out of their visit within the specified time period an alert is raised with the relevant Council Manager. Time allowance was also built-in for those areas of the County with intermittent poor mobile phone signal coverage.
Building Control Officers use GPS positioning to identify the sites they visit with a high degree of geographical precision. This also helps to quickly pinpoint the location of a member of staff if they are in difficulty at that location.
Controllers at Peoplesafe’s ARC understand the importance of GPS positioning in order to pass this information on to the relevant Council Manager in the event of an alert being raised. This will facilitate identifying quickly and effectively where assistance is required.
Since the introduction of Peoplesafe, the general view from a user’s perspective is that the service is an excellent monitoring system that enhances their safety during a lone working activity. It gives them reassurance that their whereabouts are known when an alert is raised. It increases staff confidence when carrying out inspections in remote locations.
The Council now has a cost-effective means of monitoring the safety of their lone workers using a sensible method that’s proportionate with the level of risk assessed. The Council receives incident reports from Peoplesafe including inadvertent time overruns, routinely via simple reports sent promptly by email.
The system can also be analysed by a system administrator in the Council to obtain reports on usage, for example, to see if any trends are emerging.