Streamlining the creation and booking of appointments through the SmartSTORM Diary

Durham Constabulary

STORM Command and Control is enhancing public service delivery and providing more efficient scheduling of resources.

Challenge summary

Around 60% of the UK’s police forces use STORM to allocate and deploy resources in response to emergency calls. To improve resource efficiency and enhance service to the public, the force required a solution to improve the scheduling of appointments.

Key points

  • SmartSTORM Diary has received outstanding feedback from Durham Constabulary and has 85% utilisation of appointment slots across its diaries
  • Scheduled appointments identified as a practical example of managing and reducing demand in HMIC’s Policing in Austerity Compendium
  • Durham Constabulary has seen a 5% increase in the booking of scheduled appointments at the time of the enquiry being taken
  • The development and delivery of the new diary capability aided by a user group workshop, representing 24 different forces

The challenge

The requirement for the scheduling of appointments has grown to support local and community policing initiatives and to provide the public with flexibility in the way they interact with the force. This strong focus on enhancing interaction with the public also needed to be underpinned by an effective resource utilisation tool, which would enable the force to maximise officer time. In response to Durham Constabulary and other forces’ requirements and the need to deliver the best possible service to the public, Sopra Steria was asked to upgrade the STORM Command and Control system to extend its capabilities for scheduling resources.

Our solution

As one of the most regular users of STORM Diary, Durham Constabulary was keen to work alongside us and help implement the latest upgrade. Through a series of user group initiatives involving a total of 24 UK police forces, SmartSTORM Diary was developed with a focus on new user-friendly and intuitive features. For example, each appointment can be linked to STORM incident details, providing attending officers will full information to support their meeting. A further SMS messaging feature ensures that when a diary entry is made a text is sent to the member of the public to confirm the appointment, and then another one is sent on the day as a reminder. This is helping to cut missed appointments.

How we worked together

To ensure that the upgrade matched the requirements of the users, we engaged with the STORM User Group comprising 24 UK police forces. Through this collaborative process and a series of interactive workshops, the group identified the business issues that needed to be addressed and the main functionality enhancements to be included in the upgrade. From the User Group’s input, we used our wealth of experience and knowledge of the UK policing service’s operational procedures to develop STORM in line with the key diary scheduling requirements it had identified.

As the first UK force to move to the SmartSTORM Diary system in November 2013, Sopra Steria worked closely with Durham Constabulary to ensure its staff were fully trained and confident to use the new system. The transfer took place during a Sunday nightshift to minimise operational downtime. Within the first six months of the successful launch there was an 85% utilisation of appointment slots across 22 diaries.

Results and benefits

There has been excellent feedback from users of the new Diary system for its ease of use and ability to become familiar with the new functionality; with comments such as: “we like the ability to highlight only the available appointments.” “a great time saver – and I like the fact you can type in the Log with the Diary open.” With the pressures of modern policing it is increasingly important to deliver efficiencies in the workplace and utilise the resources in the most effective way.

SmartSTORM Diary has streamlined the creation and booking of appointments.

  • Just 6 months after the launch, 16% of incidents equating to 2500 per month were being allocated directly to SmartSTORM Diary at the time of the call being taken
  • Durham Constabulary has seen a 5% increase in the booking of scheduled appointments at the time of the enquiry being taken
  • The system has saved time and helped the force to better manage its workload

The Force’s use of STORM’s scheduled appointments was identified as a practical example of managing and reducing demand by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary in their 2014 Policing in Austerity Compendium.

Client view

"Sopra Steria’s practical knowledge of UK policing, combined with its technical ability to develop STORM’s functionality, continues to help Durham Constabulary to make the best use of their available resources and improve service to the public.” Kevin Blakey, Systems Manager.