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Rsult as reference

‘The emergency control room is always reachable: 24 hours a day, 7 days a week" is a statement on the website of the Dutch Police. That promise sets the bar high for the availability of the police's IT and communications systems. Not only the control room but also C2000, the Integrated Emergency System (Dutch abbreviation - GMS), 112 and NL-Alert should always work. In order to make an important contribution to this, Eva van Dulken and Cor Janssen use the RATIO approach from CoThink to identify and address risks and problems in the communication systems.

Visualizing with CoThink Event Mapping

The team at the Emergency Control Room Services Centre (MDC) in Driebergen maintains a close watch on the systems and evaluates the risks in the case of software updates or changes. And in the case of recurring situations, the problem is traced back to its source. For this purpose, in the appropriate cases, a so-called Event Map is elaborated, using the CoThink RATIO approach.

RATIO-session

Eva van Dulken is release manager for the MDC. If necessary, she organises a RATIO session, together with Cor Janssen, problem manager at the MDC. Eva and Cor are two of the five RATIO facilitators  with which the MDC is well supplied. Eva: "If a situation appears where we have to map out the risks, we can move quickly and organize a session with the affected team. Then we work as a facilitator and coach with the team." Eva cites a recent situation in Amsterdam as an example. “A redevelopment was planned at a location in Amsterdam. In order to keep the systems on air, we had to see whether a particular part of the installation should be moved, wrapped in cladding or perhaps given a protective cage. We identified all the risks in a session with the parties involved, by means of a RATIO Risk analysis. Using flip charts and markers, we identified the risks and set out the possible scenarios. Taking these scenarios, we then carried out a RATIO Decision-making Analysis, which led to a considered choice being made for the ‘best’ scenario. Finally, this plan implemented by the contractor to the satisfaction of all parties involved, such as the developer, the client and the suppliers. In this way, we ensured that the continuity of our services was guaranteed, even during the re-development." While the team was engaged in the session under the guidance of the facilitator, in the background the coach was using the laptop to write up the template that was developed for this method. After the session, this template was presented and completed. Thus, the team immediately had a clear map of the situation and there were action items and deadlines on paper, which were then monitored by the facilitator or project leader.

Sharing success

A key factor in the success of the RATIO method is support from the MT (management team). It sometimes happens that, through the MT, a Root Cause Analysis (RCA) is performed by the MDC  facilitators for other teams in the Netherlands Police. "At the beginning, we find a certain scepticism among people who are new to this approach. 'I wonder about that, now'. But then we make an extra effort. That makes it more fun for us, because even we must always be able to explain why we do this," says Eva. Therefore, a variety of situations has to be described and tackled. These range from bottlenecks between departments to cumbersome decision-making processes and technical problems.

Cor: "We do not go and work out an Event Map immediately for every fault. But once there are recurring problems, it pays to use that approach. Indeed, our colleagues ask us for it. The suppliers are also brought in. Just recently there was a problem with the sound system in an emergency control room. It was not not working very well. By working through the problem in a structured way with the user, the technical service and the supplier, we discovered that the system was good but that the working arrangements had to be revised. These are situations where you can spend a long time looking for the wrong solution if you have not identified the problem correctly."

Cor says that the sharing of success is the second important condition for the success of the method. "If the situation is resolved, you must also communicate that clearly and ensure that the follow-up actions are taken. In this way, you ensure that your colleagues see that it works and you have good results to use as a reference for the next job."

Would you like to know more?  Call Ron Vonk on +310613140972 or e-mail him

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