Changes to OpenCheck

Over the past 10 days we have made a number of changes to the OpenCheck system. It’s now possible for users with the profile bit ‘Site Managers’ to update the status of OpenCheck for schools.

The front end of the web site has been changed to encouridge users to select from two drop down lists for the LA and the school which then tells the user the state of the school. After this the user may click to draw the map usign Google technology.

We have made this change to reduce the overall load on the systems so as to ensure consisitant delivery of the service in times of great demand.

13 thoughts on “Changes to OpenCheck

  1. Can I thank Chris, Peter and Phil for their help with OpenCheck over the last few days? Sutton has now adopted it as the single method that all internal council and emergency planning agencies are using to check school status.

    We have a suggestion or two in the pipeline (no change there then) and we still have a lot of education to do in terms of encouraging schools not to use free-form text to state a variant of one of the existing fixed text options (see our current orange map which should be almost entirely green), but it’s been very sucessful here. We have all bar two schools on board now and I expect it’ll get used again on Monday.

  2. Just to echo Mark’s comments.

    I was also noted back in early Dec when the map pages suffered a little under the sudden usage peak that the server handing out the information for embedded status pages was responding normally at all times. That worked well for us and a possible hint for other people using the system.

    It is a shame to have lost the map on the borough level pages, I assume it was probing the DB to plot all the map points on every page request that put such high load on the webservers?

    That being the case and just an idea, would it not be possible to have the open check pages (or at least the individual map sections on those pages) as more static HTML but set a DB trigger to re-write that HTML code on the web server each time a school in that borough updates it’s status?

    Of course if it is actually the Google API that adds load to your servers then this is no help at all…

    Just thinking out loud

  3. Yep it’s all about load on this game …

    These people have the right idea, have a look here and click on the map of England

    When the weather get’s grim they turn the map function off but still let you see cameras

    OpenChecks been tweaked to provide the details really required which is ‘is the school open’ the map is a nice idea but not that useful when there is high demand.

  4. Hi Martin

    Is there any chance of nominated contacts updatin Opencheck via Text (once Mobiles ae verified of course!)

    Happy New Year


  5. That’s not an impossible idea to implement – I’ll add it to the wish list for services – almost certainly get added as a feature to the texting service package rather than OpenCheck.

  6. Some feedback from HT’s:

    <1> Given that a school is either open or closed the use of orange to indicate more info makes the map a bit ambiguous.

    The suggestion is to do away with the orange icon and have red or green icons with an additional flag such as an (i) info symbol above or any alternative to indicate firmly red or green but with additional info available. We appreciate that this may cause clutter depending on the zoom level, but that’s what the slider bar is for.

    Acknowledging the comments on the previous posts:

    <2> People miss the Google map on the main page and have believed that the change to displaying the London Map means it’s broken. We appreciate the reasons for the change here of course, but as the Refresh button still displays the Google map, could if be relabelled to something like “Display ALL schools” or similar? The functionality remains but load is only generated when the button is used manually.

    The overall map has also been praised by various other parts of the council and agencies who have to submit daily status reports to Govt. and need an at-a-glance view of the whole Borough so it would be a shame to loose it or make it harder to find.

    <3> Some people have been caught out when updating the support site by the need to physically delete the free-form text before clicking Update: if its still there the changes to the pull-down are not recognised.

  7. So as you can all see we have a new icon for ‘not sure’ – the other two items are on the redesign list which I think this site will get in the near future.

    With regard to

    2) – It’s all about reduced processor and bandwidth – I suspect we may well remove the map from the front page completely and just allow authenticated LA staff to see the overall picture.

    3) – this is covered in the manual and was specifically asked for at day one – if we don’t do this people accidently delete carefully hand crafted words !!

  8. Thanks for those.

    On 2) if you do remove the map could you leave in a backdoor or generic pw that we can use to allow Council colleages with no USO accounts to see it as we’ve got a lot of positive feedback from them? Corportate will prolly not allow us to issue USO accounts for them.

    3) Fair enuff.

  9. Mr Dinsdale – I thought you would have know better than to ask for a generic …. any member of Council staff is welcome to have a USO account – we certainly will not prevent them from having them – if the council will not allow USO accounts to be issued to their staff then a generic would be no good either !!

    On item 3) we could always have a tick box in the system to allow selection between the two different ways the drop down list could work …. only joking .. at least that would please everybody !!

  10. I’m only trying to keep your stock high over here you know.

    3) I guess you could – I’m not to fussed about that one as the less use of free-form (since it gets majorly mis-used) the better. Yes, I know we asked for it…

  11. Hi all,

    we still have a number of schools, parents and officers saying that the amber icon leads to a confusing map (I know it is often the schools fault for using silly custom text)

    Any chance that the custom text can come with a radio option for Open or Closed and then show a Green “i” or Red “i” accordingly. That would then show the status of the school at a glance but also show that there is more information available.

    I know you are contemplating the future of the map overall but this would still help with my next request 🙂

    On the code you provide for showing the list on your own site, Any change you could place a surrounding SPAN around everything to do with each school and give that span a class that represents the icon that would display on the map. That would then enable us to style up highlighting for schools with different status settings, helping the visual impact of our sites ( – This is the code i am on about)

  12. Hi,

    I’ll add these to the wish list but it really is going to be this at this point of time.

    modifications to the supported interface for LA’s is not going to change in this way as it will change the functionality of the other systems.

    Nothing stopping you writting code on your site to make this mod to the system – happy for that to happen.


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