The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is standardising its divisional systems onto one customer relationship management (CRM) platform.
The government body responsible for enforcing statutory health and safety requirements had been maintaining 18 feeder systems - both custom built and off the shelf - from its four divisions, the Railway Inspectorate, the Nuclear Safety Directorate, the Hazardous Installations Directorate and the Field Operations Directorate.
Although the HSE's staff base of 4,000 is made up of inspectors, policy advisors, technology specialists and scientific and medical experts, each division maintained a different system according to its end users.
Neil Goldsmith, the programme manager heading the Corporate Operational Information System project, described the HSE's current systems as "ageing, failing and not very well liked", and said that users had helped to drive the standardisation initiative.
The different feeder systems provide a variety of functions, including recording details of inspections and action taken on inspections, such as the serving of an enforcement order.
"We need to record that we have done all of that and demonstrate that we have taken any necessary action," said Goldsmith. "But the main field operations system, for example, had 16 locally deployed, separate databases with clunky central controls."
HSE completed a scoping exercise two years ago, which found that it would be possible to combine the disparate systems using an off-the-shelf package. Goldsmith employed an end-user forum of inspectors to assess different packages using custom scenarios.
"I was keen to engage frontline staff. And the key for them was usability, [protecting against] repetitive stress injuries and, therefore, reducing the number of mouse clicks," he said.
Of the final two management packages, there was a clear user preference for PeopleSoft's CRM software, said Goldsmith.
With assistance in the design phase from the vendor's consultants, Goldsmith has spent the intervening time migrating data onto the new system, which is expected to be complete by October, with all users live on it by April 2005.
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