What’s new in Sprint 8

Hello grapple fans. It’s that time of the sprint where we share the highlights of the past two weeks.

Mobile working in Cityclean

Report A Problem allows citizens across Brighton to tell us about graffiti, fly-tipping and more. We’re on to the final piece in the puzzle now – developing mobile apps our teams on the ground use to communicate with each other and find out about new jobs. George, Luke and Cityclean colleagues have produced and tested a private beta, together with mockups of further improvements.

An early version of the app used by Cityclean mobile workers

Safeguarding your data

The General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR for short) come into force across the UK from May 2018, and colleagues across the council have been working through the implications. Annie has produced great wireframes showing where we’re headed. We’d love to collaborate with other organisations on this, so please drop us a line if you’re interested.

Will in Whitehawk

As well as managing the Digital First programme, I’ve started working as a Product Manager with our Communities team. My first job is to create a map of all community organisations in Whitehawk, and start workshops to help people get listed on Google. There’s a lot we can help with and I’m looking forward to getting stuck in. 

Bristol bound

Last Friday and Saturday I attended LocalGovCamp, hosted by Bristol City Council this year. There are several hundred words I’d like to blog, so stay tuned. For now I wanted to say thanks to all the organisers and volunteers – we had a great venue and excellent sessions. Can’t wait for next year!

Let’s talk…

Whether you’re at Brighton & Hove City Council, another council, or in the local digital sector, we’d really like to strike up a conversation. What would you like to hear about from us? What challenges are you grappling with? Please do get in touch.

Digitally transforming Pest Control

We have been working with the pest control team to make their work easier and more efficient. The pests and poisons haven’t been transformed but nearly everything else has been!

Will and Pat
Our pest controllers Pat and Will checking out their new kit.

In this two minute video I describe some of the improvements we have made and the savings they will bring. Roy from the pest control team describes shares his experience of collaborating with us.


Working with them has been a real pleasure and I am looking forward to working with the whole team as we go live next week.

Discovery at the chip shop!

Annie prepares to shadow the food inspection teamI 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.

Various pieces of paperwork used by the food inspection team

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.

A jar of pickled eggsOnce 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.

Pickled egg anyone?