This week’s blog comes from Brian Kelly who is Managing Director at Bold Communications. He explores the way in which Bradford Council manages its lone worker safety and other risks with an integrated approach.
The security and safety services provided by local authorities are often handled in a fragmented way with different departments managing their own requirements. However, a number of councils are taking a more joined-up approach. A good example is Bradford Council. Originally designed for public space CCTV surveillance, the Bradford control room has since evolved into a full BS5979 accredited alarm and CCTV receiving centre, now also offering inhouse lone worker monitoring.
Dedicated devices, as well as smartphone apps are monitored on the council’s Bold Gemini monitoring platform, with assisted GPS location fixes and a listen in facility for live and recorded audio. Simple workflow instructions allow the operator to evaluate alerts with an appropriate response, according to the circumstances. If needed, the operator can open up a two way conversation for remote support and assistance. If the alert is verified, the user’s location can be viewed with a single click. Further user data, such as medical and personal information, is presented to the operator during alarm handling to help ensure that an intelligent, informed and measured response can be provided.
For compliance and audit, all data, actions and audio are logged in the system. Multiple geo-spatial geofences can be configured along with overview maps, track over ground indicators, comprehensive scheduling, timed check calls, duress features, and a full suite of user and system reports.
An integrated approach
While many monitoring providers promote a single-tasking approach to lone worker services, the increasingly integrated range of security services offered by council control rooms offer additional levels of value. As the name suggests, and unlike control rooms offering national coverage, local authorities are based on discrete geographical areas.
Operators can use their local knowledge to be aware of areas where problems are historically more likely to occur, as well as being well placed to accurately direct responders. Also, the council relationship with local police, either in the form of a force radio or a physical presence in the control room, can enable a speedy and effective response. Public space CCTV surveillance in the control room offers a further potential resource.
For the authority, in addition to enjoying the benefit of a customised, inhouse monitoring facility, with direct access to their own data, the service provides a revenue generation opportunity to help support many of the other public services provided in the control room.
A single platform for a range of tasks
Space and resources are always at a premium in a control room where fire and intruder, CCTV, audio, telecare, access control, asset tracking and remote site management may all be handled together. Multiple client and web applications for each service could quickly become a constraint, with staff needing to be proficient in different systems with diverse operating methods and standalone databases. The capability to monitor a range of services provided at authorities like Bradford is made possible by using a single monitoring platform.
The platform approach is device-agnostic and enables the user to enjoy the benefit of high level integration, as well as achieving significant efficiencies for energy, space, training and support, as well as reducing equipment costs, single points of failure and their carbon footprint.
Bradford CCTV Control Room Manager, Phil Holmes, commented, “Our monitoring and surveillance systems have proved their value over many years with a significant contribution to public safety and the detection of crime. In addition, the authority has an obligation to keep its employees safe as the number of people working on their own increases. Being able to manage it on our existing Bold monitoring platform provides a rational solution, enhances the safety of staff and adds value to the control room without negatively impacting other services”.
If you want to find out more about this kind of joined up thinking and integrated approach then you can chat to Brian and the rest of his team at the Lone Worker Safety Expo conference on the 2nd October. Earlybird places are available until the 27th April – so don’t delay!