I had a fantastic time shadowing the Food Inspections team. For a start, I got to dress up.
We are working with them to learn how we can make the admin side of their job simpler and quicker. They currently have to bring a lot of forms with them. Each one needs an office copy and a premises copy, so they use a piece of carbon copy paper. Each piece is very precious as buying carbon paper is pretty tricky these days. We’d like to get those forms replaced with a mobile device, most probably a tablet. To make sure that we provide something truly useful, we need to understand the environment that they work in so that we can build something suited to it.
I shadowed Cathryn and we went to a chip shop. I was really pleased with the location, as who doesn’t want to get to see behind the scenes at a chippy! Cathryn is great at her job, really knowledgeable and brilliant at establishing a rapport with the staff. They were in the middle of renovating and seemed a bit worried about what she would think but she was really good at encouraging them and focusing on the important points.
I saw the kind of tasks that she has to complete, including checking temperatures, reviewing safety records and testing staff knowledge. At each visit she has a clipboard and a 3 page document with check lists and space for more detail. As she worked and talked, she scribbled notes to type up later. She then copied out the key points and recommendations onto another form (with carbon copied version to take back to the office) that she left with the chip shop.
There are all sorts of forms that she has to bring with her just in case she needs to take further action and serve formal notices. Before she goes to the appointment and when she comes back there is some printing out and scanning in.
From shadowing her I understood the way in which we would need to reorganise the forms to streamline the process for her. Without seeing her in action on site that would not have been so clear. I could also see that when we choose what tablet to provide, it would need to be able to be propped up on worktops and have notes either typed on a keyboard or written with a stylus, as holding it in one hand and tapping with the other would not meet her needs. Shadowing is a not only fun but essential part of digital transformation work.
Once we have developed the new form, if we can then integrate it with their office system, we can prevent the need to print out and scan in. That means even more time saved and even more chippys getting checked. So you could say I am helping the whole of the city have outstanding fish and chips! I also got to see a chipping room with its huge peeling and cutting machines and stand behind the counter… sometimes my job is pretty cool.