Improved food safety service for North Devon
Posted on: 9 January 2018
Improvements have been made to the way food premises inspections are carried out across North Devon following the introduction of new software.
Officers from the Food Safety Team at North Devon Council have been using mobile software, called Merlin, for the last nine months to deliver their food inspection programme. The software allows officers inspecting food premises to deliver and manage their existing programme more quickly and efficiently, as well as visit more premises on the same day.
As well as this, officers are now able to complete inspection reports as they go. The final reports can then be emailed straight to the business operators while on the premises providing the opportunity for officers to discuss its contents with them there and then. The reports also have colour photos of the officers’ findings providing clearer information.
Leader of North Devon Council and Executive Member for IT, Councillor Des Brailey, says: “We’re always striving to build on and improve the service we provide across all council services. Keeping up to date with the latest technology so that we can use it to our full advantage and provide a quicker, more efficient, cost effective service is key to this.
“The introduction of the new system provides our officers with greater flexibility to manage their workloads so that they can provide a more personal service and work together more efficiently. Officers from our Environmental Health Team were recently invited to attend an event in London to talk about how working more digitally with the food inspection programme is benefiting the service we provide for all involved.”
Operations Manager for Symbro who manages Subway in Barnstaple, Peter Burrows-Bryan, says: “By the time the inspection has taken place, paperwork printed and sent it could be up to two weeks before I actually see the report so having instant access enables me to act straight away with no delays. I like the look of the new document, it’s easy to understand and I can get the results instantly and act accordingly, also a picture speaks a thousand words (as they say) with regard to any issues. I can also easily store them on my system for future reference.”
Catering Operations Manager for Devon Norse, Sarah Harrison, says: “Some of the most useful reports that we have seen. We especially liked the photos and have used them in training sessions to discuss Environmental Health Officers and food safety visits with staff.”
Improvements to the enforcement side of food inspections have also been made following the introduction of the software. Officers now have the opportunity to provide fuller reports with clearer steps on action to take in the future so that premises get a better outcome from the inspection.
Since its introduction over 1,000 inspections have been carried out. The new system was introduced at the council following a test period over the last two years.Posted in: Economy