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Silversands creates Power Platform Incident Reporting app for South Coast Fire Service hero image

Silversands creates Power Platform Incident Reporting app for South Coast Fire Service

Technology used :

Power Platform

Silversands creates Power Platform Incident Reporting app for South Coast Fire Service hero image
What were the challenges?
  • The fire service was using an outdated incident recording process that was inefficient and disjointed
  • Security was an important factor since much of the data being stored is sensitive
What was the solution?
  • Microsoft Power Platform had already been selected as a strategic platform.
  • Microsoft Dataverse was selected as strategic data store for performance, integration and security benefits
  • Model-driven and canvas Power Apps applications were developed to provide admin and user front end applications
  • Notifications and workflows were provided by Power Automate
  • Reporting was provided by Power BI
What were the results?
  • The ‘Incident Reporting’ app provides required functionality for creating, managing and viewing incidents based on role and security considerations
  • Automated notifications and workflow ensure that incidents are responded to within defined time limits
  • Major incidents can be recorded and actioned with just-in-time permissions given to the duty manager
  • Additional applications will be developed that will share data and provide an integrated suite of custom solutions for different requirements and situations

The Background

As is normal in public sector organisations, there are lots of procedures that require form filling and have a supporting workflow.  One such procedure in the fire service is incident recording, which covers events such as workplace accidents, mental health issues, on-job accidents and so on. In some cases, particular information must be captured for the Health & Safety Executive (HSE). 

Historically, these incidents have been recorded in a physical book and an electronic system, and a RIDDOR form is filled in for the HSE reporting.  

Like many organisations, this fire service is looking to digitise and automate procedures and processes as much as possible and has selected the Microsoft Power Platform as its primary development platform because of the speed at which applications can be developed, the functionality available and the integration with the Microsoft 365 suite as well as with third-party applications and data stores.  

Since the existing solution was spread across disparate systems and did not provide exactly the functionality that is required to support the incident recording process, the fire service decided to re-work it as a Power Platform solution. 

The Incident Reporting solution is one of several processes that have been or are being digitised by Silversands for this fire service as part of a Health & Safety ‘suite’ of apps. 

  • Incident report procedure was manual, inefficient and disjointed
  • No way to easily track incident reports
  • Notifications to interested parties were unreliable
  • Difficult to audit incident reporting activity
<p>“With an extensive history of Power Platform development, our team is able to create solutions for virtually any process or automation requirement.”</p>

“With an extensive history of Power Platform development, our team is able to create solutions for virtually any process or automation requirement.”

Mike Tansey, Account Director, Silversands

The Solution

At the start of our engagement with this fire service, we held a technical workshop, which was an opportunity for us to understand the environment that these solutions would be used in, key considerations and determine the core requirements that would apply across the organisation. It was also an opportunity to discuss some of the major aspects of the Power Platform so that key strategic decisions could be made.

Selecting the right data store 

One such decision relates to the store that will be used to hold the data used by the Power Platform solutions. The most suitable one in this instance is the Power Platform Dataverse since it is the most flexible and high-performance data store, and is the central storage for all the Power Platform solutions.

Security is key

Most importantly, since this and other apps are dealing with very sensitive data, the Dataverse is highly secure, allowing individual records and fields to be seen by only those that have the correct permissions. The app only allows people to see records they have a right to at any particular time – if someone moves to another role or job, their access can be revoked instantaneously, and they will not be able to see any records that they previously had access to. Equally, someone moving into a role can be instantly given access to all the existing records they should be able to see.

Alongside the user security, field level change auditing has been implemented so there is always an audit trail for incident record activity.

Creating an incident report using a Power Platform app

Applications for admins and users 

With the Dataverse structured to support the requirements, a front-end application (known as a Power App model-driven app) was created to provide the interface for people to manage, track and report on incidents – this included the HR team, responsible managers (such as a fire station master) and incident investigators.

An additional set of related apps was also created so that control room staff could create records for circumstances where an incident has occurred.  In these situations, a duty manager would be given limited access to the application so that they are able to start an investigation immediately.

Whenever an incident is created, the system, using automations built with the Power Automate component of Power Platform, will then notify the relevant people, depending on what parameters have been entered into the record. If nobody has picked up the incident within a defined period, additional notifications are sent.

Unified reporting  

Although not part of the work that we did on this app, the fire service’s data team has created Power BI reports, which can be used to visualise and report on any of the data stored within the system. Power BI respects the data security and so only presents the user with data relevant to their security permissions.

"Microsoft Power Platform is the perfect suite of tools to optimise the myriad of processes used by this fire service. Opting to transform their data warehousing by using Dataverse allows for a more manageable and secure platform as they build for the future."

Mark Dutton, Power Platform Technical Lead, Silversands

An integrated suite of apps

Complimentary apps are currently under development, including one for Risk Assessments. Risk assessments are activities that are performed in many situations and this new app will allow guided creation of risk assessment records relative to the situation, whether it is a fire station, a fire response or something else.

However, because this app is using the same Dataverse as the Incident Reporting app, they can easily share data and, therefore, incidents that have a related risk assessment requirement can automatically create and link to records in the Risk Assessment app.

Apps created to support other fire service activities, such as staff inductions and site bookings, will utilise this shared data store in the same way, creating a powerful suite of integrated custom apps.

  • Power Platform application design to replicate and improve on manual process
  • Dataverse selected to be data store for all Power Platform solutions
  • Front-end apps created for users and admins
  • Create, manage, track and report on incidents
  • Notifications automatically inform the relevant people
  • Field-level permissions for granular security
  • Additional capability to support just-in-time incident reporting for duty managers
  • Visual reports and dashboards to enable management oversight

The Results

With the selection of Power Platform as its low-code application development environment, and of Dataverse as its data store, this fire service can create custom apps, automations and solutions in a much quicker time than with traditional development.

One of the first fruits of this capability is the Incident Reporting app, which replaces several out-dated legacy solutions and manual processes, provides exactly the functionality that is required to manage the various incident management situations and has the necessary performance and, most importantly, security to meet the service’s needs.

By creating additional applications that hook into the same Dataverse, the fire service will be able to take advantage of data sharing across applications to create an integrated suite that delivers exactly the required functionality for any given requirement.

These Power Platform applications will improve efficiency, save time, reduce errors, provide advanced reporting and allow the fire service to continue providing its services to the community in the most effective way.

  • Cumbersome manual process replaced with slick Power Platform solution
  • Manages several different reporting scenarios
  • Automated notifications and nudges ensure no incidents are missed
  • Security-first approach ensures protection of sensitive data
  • Incident reports can be viewed on any device
  • Visual reporting and dashboards provide management oversight
  • Process efficiency is markedly improved