A digital device that meets Home Office guidelines over tampering with data evidence has been commissioned by United Utilities.

The North West water company will use the field data platform, eviFile, on 100km of pipeline in its £300 million West Cumbria supplies project.

Specifically developed to defend against digital security breaches in the capture and analysis of data, it will also ensure audit trails are preserved.

By employing the same standards as used by police forces and digital forensic units when gathering evidence from physical crime scenes and investigating cyber security incidents, the platform can help utility and energy companies avoid costly legal disputes between clients and contractors.

The device can also help ensure regulatory requirements are met, by producing a digital evidence pack for “any pipe within four seconds”, as opposed to manual reports.

Operated via standard tablet and smartphones, field engineers can use the device’s cameras and GPS capabilities to record works completed. A report can then be shared with Ofwat to prove Outcome Delivery Incentives (ODIs) have been met, as well as Environment Agency and Drinking Water Inspectorate requirements.

United Utilities head of construction services, William Eyre, said: “We now have a much more efficient, accurate and secure way of reporting on progress of construction against our delivery schedule and on key issues like environment, quality and health and safety.”

The technology will be used throughout the entire supply chain, for contractors, field operatives, project managers, stakeholders and regulators.