CCTV Reporting Training Aids Northumbrian Water Response Teams

uk-flagNorthumbrian Water (NW), like all water companies, has to be able to handle and respond to a variety of different circumstances and customer related incidents during the course of its operations. Following various sewer flooding incidents within its region, NW is delivering a project to improve its customer service by streamlining the management and investigation processes surrounding such occurrences.


Training under way at Northumbrian Water with the company’s response teams.

While ongoing works and scheduled maintenance operations continue to be undertaken by outsourced contractors, NW is in the process of streamlining its reactive operations by ensuring that its own in-house response teams do not just have the capability to clear blockages and cleanse sewers but also have the added ability to carry out CCTV surveys and create industry standard structural and service condition reports.

To achieve this aim, NW has purchased CCTV equipment for its Operational response team and is currently putting the team through a series of CCTV inspection and reporting training courses, in association with Develop Training and WinCan. WinCan is the provider of what is generally recognized as the ‘industry standard’ inspection reporting software, to ensure that all incident investigations provide not just the customer service expected of NW but also the maximum information about any particular site. This information supports NW in providing excellent customer service and it can also be added to the company’s asset management database for OFWAT reporting, future reference and operational planning.

In total, the training program will provide NW with 21 response teams fully trained to the OS19x/WinCan level required within the company. Each team will then have the full capability to carry out all sewer maintenance tasks and CCTV surveying, using both push rod and crawler cameras. NW’s existing 15 reactive sewerage maintenance teams will operate the CCTV equipment. However, due to the increased workload arising from the project, NW will also need to recruit six additional teams. On the present training program NW is undertaking five courses with between eight and 10 attendees per course.


To ensure that the right training was provided for such an important part of NW’s customer facing operations, the company had to select the best training provider. Develop, NW’s training partner for this project, was approached early on in the program development process. To test the course applicability NW and Develop ran an initial OS19x training course with volunteer candidates from the water company maintenance teams whilst piloting its new flooding initiative.

Tony King of Develop worked closely with NW project manager Peter Rollins to support the candidates, who came with a mix of experience and abilities and initially found the course quite daunting. However, with the right support and high-quality training, the outcome was excellent with a very good pass rate. Develop’s course flexibility and the advice received, particularly from King, proved invaluable to the attendees.


Practical use of the WinCan reporting system brings trainees up to speed with changes that will be required in new Standards proposed for 2015.

In terms of training for the reporting side of the work, NW already had a relationship with WinCan, as the company had previously purchased a license.  Having the availability of the reporting software developer on hand throughout the pilot training course proved a great advantage, along with the advice offered by Paul Woodhouse of WinCan.

As the project has progressed further, NW went through a tendered procurement process to purchase CCTV equipment and reporting software, with WinCan eventually being the software of choice. This decision was influenced by NW’s desire to implement the new process swiftly and also have the teams trained to the latest standards without too much of an impact on the day to day operation of the busy sewer network teams.

Woodhouse has worked closely with Develop to prepare a course plan to provide a combined training course that could be offered to all NW sewer maintenance teams. This gave the company both the confidence and support required to ensure its teams achieved the very best results for not only the business but for its customers too.

“Develop and WinCan have for some years been looking at the best way to combine the operator course and reporting course together in this way,” Woodhouse said. “Until recently, there has been little incentive to do this because of how the course examination has been designed. However, with the proposed changes to the standards coming into force in 2015 in the new 5th Edition of the Sewerage Manual, which have an emphasis on testing using electronic formats with the software that will be used in the field, we felt now was a good time to make the change on the courses.”


Examinations using electronic reporting enable trainees to experience ‘in-field’ conditions.

King added, “We now see ourselves as having a course structure that will be exactly what the CCTV community needs and that can be adapted as necessary to individual needs. This will be in an electronic format that will meet all the new criteria across the industry, from the work carried out by U.K. water companies to those in the private sector that may be looking to do work of this nature.”

As mentioned earlier this project initiative was customer service driven rather than simply being an efficiency project.

“This project has been an investment in our people as it empowers our maintenance teams, giving them the tools to carry out the job right, first time, every time, and is a real morale boost to staff as a result,” Rollins said. “This project does not affect any other NW requirements for CCTV surveying, as it is purely focused on reactive flooding investigations.”

Woodhouse stated, “This is the first time such a combined course has been used with an electronic training and testing format and it is seen as a test scheme within the industry to see how it meets the proposed changes in standards. With the program of NW courses now about to be completed, it has proved that it could be an invaluable asset to all those that operate in areas where pipeline inspection is a ‘must do’ on a daily basis. We see this type of course as something that most if not all the U.K. water companies will be looking towards in the very near future. On that note it should perhaps also be highlighted that we can tailor the course to fit any particular requirements from individual companies including combined training at client sites or indeed at out dedicated training facility in Woking.”


This article was provided by WinCan Europe Ltd., Woking, Surrey, United Kingdom.
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