Computing learners develop crisis management app for council

management app

Computing learners from the Grimsby Institute have developed an app that will help North East Lincolnshire Council cope with the demanding pressures they undergo when dealing with a crisis situation.

Richard Hawksorth, Humber Emergency Planning Officer for North East Lincolnshire Council, explained how the idea for the app came about following the devastating tidal surge that hit our region last December. Richard said:

“Normally during an emergency, communication between the different staff and departments at the council can be very difficult. We’ve had a few incidents in the past when communication wasn’t as effective as it could have been. Off the back of the tidal surge we thought of trying to find a way of making our communication channels a bit clearer.”

Council leaders met with the Senior Management Team from the Grimsby to discuss ideas. The Institute’s Programme Leader for Level 3 Computing, James Jackson, was then tasked with finding learners to work on the project. James said:

“It was great for our learners to be able to work on a project that gave them a chance to step out into the real world. Sometimes, because of the nature of what we do, it is very easy to get ‘bogged down’ in your device and what it can do, so much so you forget someone has to actually use the app.

“One of the units they have recently worked on has been Human Computer Interface; looking how we interface with mobile devices, and the learners have really developed a high level of skill through their progress on the app.”

Level 3 learners, Alex Volley and Joseph Goodley, who are both going to university in September, assisted by Tom Robertson and Jack Lamynan, were offered the chance to work on the the project by James and spent eight weeks building the app. Nineteen-year-old Alex said:

“When we first heard about the idea it was quite small. We then did some research and found there was nothing the same on the market. We knew from what the council wanted that it would have to unique in order for it to do everything they needed.

“The app itself simplifies communication. Instead of making telephone calls, notes, and having multiple people ring asking the same question, it simplifies that process by providing a portal that anyone with access can view.”

Richard Hawksworth continued: “Now our staff will be able to use their phones and tablet when they are out in the field. They can keep in contact with each other and provide live updates to keep everyone aware of what is going on. It’s going to make the whole process so much faster and simpler.

“The work we’ve asked the learners to do has actually been very technical and challenging. They’ve done really well getting everything ready in the timeframe we required. We’re really pleased with the work of Alex and Joseph. We’re actually thinking of now rolling this out, not just across North East Lincolnshire, but across all of the councils in the Humber Region and sharing it with partners, which will be really useful for us.”