County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service has a range of retained fire stations, whole-time (containing full-time personnel) fire stations, community safety centres and both retained and full time fire stations which cover a total population of 519,000. Currently there are seven retained stations, six whole time and retained stations, two whole time stations and four community fire safety centres. The Service pledges that every 999 call made to it will be answered within 1.46 seconds.
More than nine years ago the Service was on the look out for a reliable clocking-in system with software that could handle their flexitime and a host of other complicated wages and hours calculations. The management team looked at a number of systems and chose a Tensor WinTA Smart Card Time and Attendance system because they were impressed with the company’s track record in manufacturing, supplying, installing and maintaining time management systems.
County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service installed the Tensor smart card clocking system in March 2002. It comprised two clocks installed within their headquarters in Framwellgate Moor, Durham. The system, which can be used by the fire staff to clock in and out, and to book their flexitime and holidays, has been working well ever since then.
Dave Gelson, an Apple iMac engineer who works for Knowledge I.T. (the Brigade’s outsourced Information Technology department), looks after the Tensor system. Dave described how the flexitime aspect is crucial to the running of the Service, which includes part-time retained and full time employees. Dave explained that “The Brigade likes to monitor flexitime, so that everyone is able to keep track of the hours they work”. He added “the Tensor time and attendance software enables us to do this. We could not continue using a flexitime system without something like this.”
Dave saw the worth of the Tensor time and attendance network, saying “I pushed for an upgrade to the latest Tensor .NET system. You know, the Tensor staff cannot do enough for you”.
The WinTA software allows County Durham to customise all its wages and personnel reports, so that details of the hours worked by employees can be accessed at the touch of a button. It is unbeatable in its ability to deal with all sorts of working patterns and shifts, and finds no problem with the specific flexitime contracts worked by public sector staff. The software enables the HR department to export wages information to the payroll system.
Dave has on occasion had to use the Tensor help desk, and could not praise it enough. He enthused “I always say that one of the best points about the system is the Tensor help desk, the service is very good. I have never had any problems with the knowledgeable help desk”.
Discussing the robustness of the Tensor contactless slim-line smart cards used by the Service to clock in and out and book onto jobs, Dave commented “they are quick, easy to use and help staff book in and out with no problems”.
When asked whether he would recommend Tensor to other companies, Dave replied, “I always recommend the Tensor system to people who visit our site”.
County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service Headquarters