North Devon Council completes about 350-400 inspections each year. Before they used the mobile app, things were very paper-heavy.
Officers would pull out and read all the relevant files before they left for an inspection. They’d then fill out the forms while they were there and hand them to an administrator to type up. A report and covering letter would be sent back to the officer for any final changes before finally being posted to the business.
From start to finish, this process could take up to two weeks.
North Devon went live with Food Hygiene Mobile in 2016. That shift condensed the two weeks into just two hours, with reports available the moment an officer leaves an inspection if they have internet access.
“The food hygiene mobile app has transformed our working day. We cover a big rural area, so having offline mobile and built-in mapping is a huge benefit. Our customers get a faster response too.”
Using the mobile app has transformed each officer’s working day.
Now, they carry a lightweight tablet to each inspection. The app works offline, so it’s perfect for rural areas. The mapping helps too, letting officers plan their route and also check for new food businesses. By clicking on the location of a premises they can see instantly if it’s registered and if not, take action.
Another big benefit is the photos. Regulatory Services Officer Dean Davies says they’re taken where an issue is identified, which is during almost all inspections. By making it clear where the issues are, it helps owners and managers to resolve issues quickly. Often customers will return photos clearly showing the fix which means there’s no need for a return visit until the next inspection.
Compared to the paper process, the app has saved North Devon more than 1,000 hours a year in administration. This equates to a saving of around £25,000 per year, meaning the app paid for itself within two months. We’re now 5 years later and North Devon are still seeing the rewards.
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