Babergh & Mid Suffolk District Councils share delivery of most local services and aim for a paperless approach. They were early adopters of our ASSURE Environmental Health system and keen to automate what they could.
Food registration was a top priority, even though they’d removed paper forms already. This is because registrations made on the Food Standard Agency (FSA) website need rekeying into local systems. As well as taking time it also leads to errors, like the wrong email address or a lost inspection worksheet.
Sally Farthing is a Business Support Manager in Public Protection: “When people registered on the FSA website, we’d get an email with all the details. But we still had to get the information into ASSURE. So we asked NPS to work with the FSA and automate it. Anything that saves us time saves us money.”
“Each food registration is now 10 minutes faster and error-free. Even a few minutes makes a big difference so that’s a huge saving for us.”
Within months, we’d worked with the council and the FSA to test and launch the new connection.
Food registrations now go straight into ASSURE, which then generates inspection worksheets automatically. From April 2020 to March 2021, there were 368 new registrations and each one was 10 minutes faster. This adds up to more than 60 hours of admin time, saving around £2k each year and paying for itself in just nine months. Ongoing inspections also get set automatically so that nothing gets missed.
With fewer clicks needed, staff can now focus on higher value tasks. “We’ve been able to create a new technical officer role to help complete lower-risk phone inspections,” says Sally. “It’s helped us take a whole new approach that’s benefited both councils.”
“The process went really smoothly from end to end, so I’m now keen to move everything I can into ASSURE. We’re looking at improving automation in Licensing too.”
“It’s good to see that the partnership working between the FSA, NEC Software Solutions and Babergh and Mid Suffolk Councils has resulted in the authority’s ASSURE information systems being able to fully integrate with the FSA’s Register a Food Business service. This pilot has clearly demonstrated the tangible benefits of integration in terms of more accurate registration information, substantial reduction in processing time and significant cost savings.”