Together for Selma

“This is how we want to drive digitization,” said Finance Commissioner, Robert Steen, at the launch of Oslo municipality’s system for electronic work lists.

Photo: Svein Jørgen Kjenner, Oslo Municipality.

By Svein Jørgen Kjenner Johansen, Oslo Municipality, 03.02.2017

“Rather than "putting electricity through paper", we have worked based on a problem, collected data from several sources and built smart technology on top of it,” the Finance Commissioner continued.

More than a list

It is called Selma – system for electronic worklists, though the supplier calls the creation HMSREG. Project Manager, Arne Myskja, explained the name confusion for the 200 participants at yesterday’s seminar for actions taken against work-related crime arranged by UKE: The system does more than list constriction workers. It is a management system, a tool for analysis, an app for efficient follow-up of suppliers and contractors.

“Maybe this product we developed together can create a foundation for a new standard of supplier information in the public sector. Maybe we can develop a rating for seriousness, in the same way we have credit rating,” Myskja says.

Control to maintain

The afternoon was characterized by thinking forward and asking the big questions. And if we are to believe the representatives who talked on stage, Selma is a part of the answer to the question which for the last years have been a topic in the construction and building sector and other labor-intensive sectors – and which stood as a mantra for the afternoon: how to preserve the best aspects of the Norwegian work practice which traditionally has been characterized by trust, cooperation and a low level of conflict?

“I am not a fan of the time clocks, because I do not think the most efficient value creation comes from a working situation where reward is defined by presence,” said Finance Commissioner, Robert Steen.

“We are not creating a future for the Norwegian building sector if we only focus on how bad things are at this moment,” said Audun Lågøy from the Federation of Norwegian Construction Industries (BNL).

“The trust model is challenged by a view on humanity that enables social dumping. Our best competitive advantage is at stake,” said Per Skau from Fellesforbundet.

“The Norwegian work life is threatened by a failing respect for the authorities, and a view among international criminals that the Norwegian work life is a jar of honey,” Bjørn Marhaug from the A-krim senteret in The Norwegian Tax Administration continued.

See what happens

Project Manager, Kathrine Steen Andersen in UKE, reminded the audience that Selma cannot be seen as a replacement for good construction site control.

“The access follows the supervisor responsibility. We give the entrepreneurs, and the Building Managers, a tool to drive knowledge-based inspection,” said Andersen.

In other words: for Building Managers and clients, as well as for entrepreneurs in the category serious suppliers, those who pay the payroll taxes, utilize skilled workers and have apprentices, Selma is a find.

“This tool represents a leap for efficient follow-up of suppliers. We have already 400 companies tied to our building projects. The fact that they can access parts of the information that we collect, is a factor of success,” said Bård Dybsjord in Undervisningsbygg.

Same standard on all assignments

A weakness in previously used control regimes is that the information flow may have been good on large projects, where the big entrepreneurs have their own digital lists. While the less serious actors have had room to unfold on the smaller assignments, where the inspection of the suppliers has been inadequate.

Selma is a dashboard that shows all of the municipality’s building and maintenance projects, both large and small. One can choose to show maps or search directly on individual companies, building projects, employees or for example the number of apprentices. The system reuses public data which is updated regularly, such as Central Coordinating Register for Legal Entities, HSE cards, StartBank and information from The Norwegian Tax Administration.

Immediate self-policing

By registering check-in and check-out on the individual assignments, sloppiness, routine failure, and fraud are uncovered immediately.

“It is great to see that the use of Selma has led to a dramatic reduction in the use of expired HSE cards just in the course of a couple of months,” said Department Director Gunnar Wedde in UKE Concern Procurement.

Or as Project Manager Arne Myskja from Omega, the supplier of the solution, summed up the bittersweet dynamics that occurs when implementing an efficient tool for inspecting the work place: “what gets measured gets done”.

Risk-based control

After the information accumulates in volume, Oslo municipality can implement analyses and risk-based control in a much more efficient way than earlier. Still, the speakers at this afternoon’s seminar agreed that the goal with these actions is not to catch as many criminals as possible, but to facilitate a best possible work place.

“We need recognize that some have crime, in large or small part, as a business model. If we are to find our way back to a trust-based and flexible work life, the rules need to be backed by technology which gives efficient control. I want to thank UKE who has taken the initiative to develop just that,” Finance Commissioner Robert Steen summed up.