The Delaware Department of Public Health is moving toward a new system that will make restaurant inspection reports readily available to the public. In the meantime, the public will again be able to see reports online.
The reports have not been available under the state’s much-touted open data portal for a year as work got underway to upgrade a system that would allow inspectors to update information from the field. The previous system dated from the late 1990s.
The open data initiative is aimed at offering public information without making requests or visiting offices. In other states, open data has led individuals and the media to track trends or in some places suggest ways government can save money.
DHSS spokesperson Jennifer Brestel said the first phase of the new system is expected to launch internally later in December.
“As we mentioned previously, the new system will create a more efficient inspection and reporting process as inspectors will be able to enter information electronically in the field rather than using paper forms and hand entering into the database. The second phase – the public facing side of the new system – is expected to launch in a couple months,” she stated.
In the interim public access to food inspection information has been restored until the system goes online.
“We recognize that this version of the webpage is a transitional piece, but we did not want to wait to provide the public with more immediate access to available information until the database transition was completed,” Brestel stated.
The sitebeingis now updated with inspection information on a weekly basis.
The website contains inspection information from the last two years and can be found at https://dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/dph/hsp/Default.aspx/.
The lack of inspection information promptedDelaware Online (News Journal) to request information on cease and desist orders for restaurants with inspection problems, Brestel said.
The requests produced numerous stories on restaurants with inspection problems that included shutdowns until problems were corrected.