1. FixMyStreet for Councils cuts call handling times, makes savings

    FixMyStreet for Councils delivers cost savings—and that’s a fact.

    Oxfordshire County Council installed FixMyStreet as their fault-reporting system in March 2013. Like every council, they were keen to see reductions in their expenditure, and were hopeful that FixMyStreet would help them in their aim to shift problem-reporting online.

    We’re delighted to hear that, two years on, those benefits are tangible. Not only can they demonstrate a cut in call handling times, but they can also put a figure on just how much they have saved.

    Tim White, Oxfordshire’s Service Improvement Lead in the Customer Service centre, says:

    FixMyStreet has reduced the average handling time of our calls from nearly four minutes to around two minutes.

    Robert Hill, Oxfordshire’s Web Services Manager, puts a figure on the savings, reckoning that the reduced time logging faults equates to £16,047.60 a year in staff costs.

    But that’s just a small proportion of the reductions they could be looking at. Oxfordshire chose not to opt for full back-end integration at the time of install, but it is something they are now considering:

    “By moving to an end to end system provided by FixMyStreet we would be able to remove additional cost by eliminating the need to inspect reports that meet certain criteria and passing them straight through for repair.”

    mySociety’s agile approach has worked well for Oxfordshire. Tim White continued:

    “Working with My Society has been a refreshing experience.

    “They are very open to making changes to the way that the product works in order to improve both the customer experience and the experience for council employees.

    “Using an agile approach to development means that we are able to get changes made quickly and incrementally, making the council more responsive to the demands of our residents.”

    If you’d like to see a drop in your own call-handling times, and the associated cost benefits, take a look at FixMyStreet for Councils.

    Image: David Howard (CC)

  2. Channel Shift Conference: We’ll be there, will you?

    The mySociety Services team will be attending this year’s Channel Shift Conference on 17th June in London. We’d love to see you there, and we’d be happy to talk about your needs.

    Local authorities using FixMyStreet for Councils have reported a shift of up to 300% from phone to online reporting. Why? Because when online reporting systems are this easy, phone contact plummets.

    So we know how important channel shift is for councils, and we can help you achieve it. With central government calling on local councils to lead the way in cost-cutting via digital technologies, we know there’s great pressure to deliver services on an ever-lower budget.

    The solution doesn’t have to be a lengthy and costly tie-in with a big provider, however. FixMyStreet For Councils shows how small independents can provide everything your clients need, with no long-running, over-priced framework agreements.

    Come and have a chat and we’ll show you how other councils have implemented our services. We can answer all your questions about back-end integration, mobile apps and how we can tailor FixMyStreet to your needs.

    We look forward to joining attendees from Central and Local Government, Housing, Police and the Private Sector, to discuss channel shift best practices. The conference will focus on overcoming key barriers, such as: culture change, integrating front-end to back-end systems, effective business process mapping, and demonstrating and promoting channel shift success.

    Many of our services are tried and tested catalysts for shifting citizen contact online. We’ll be demonstrating the channel shift success we’ve had with our council clients, and showing how you can replicate that success with your own implementation.

    Here is some more information about the conference:

    Speakers include:

    • Chair: James Rolfe, Director of Finance, Resources and Customer Services, Enfield Council
    • Keynote: Danny McLaughlin, Digital Service Manager, Department for Work and Pensions
    • Steve Halliday, Chief Information Officer, Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council and Past President, Socitm
    • Julie Robinson, Director of Resources, Watford Community Housing Trust
    • Boris Worrall, Executive Director Futures, Orbit Group – Futures
    • Ian Simons, Group Head of Social Media, RSA Insurance
    • Natalie Proffitt, Head of Digital Media Services, Leicestershire Police
    • Barry May, Head of Customer Services, London Borough of Camden

    Website: http://www.capitaconferences.co.uk/public-sector-conferences/detail/article/channel-shift-conference-1.html?code=MYSOC

    Brochure: http://www.capitaconferences.co.uk/pdfgen.html?filename=ChannelShiftJun15.pdf&code=MYSOC

    Email: naomi.wood@capita.co.uk / 020 7202 0571

  3. FixMyStreet: aligned with your council’s aims

    Weekend This Way by Dennis Skley

    When we built FixMyStreet in 2006, our primary focus was to create a tool for citizens. We wanted to make it easy, quick, and effective to report street problems, even if the user had no prior knowledge of where their reports should go. And while the tool obviously had to work for the councils who were receiving reports, it never crossed our minds to research, or try to key into, prevailing council strategies.

    But over the last few years, and to the benefit of both sides, council strategy has become strongly aligned with several of the qualities that FixMyStreet was founded on. The development of our specialised software, FixMyStreet for Councils, cemented that further, based, as it is, on consultation with local authorities.

    If your current strategy focuses on any or all of the following points, then FixMyStreet is extremely well-positioned to help you.

    Channel shift

    UK local authorities are fully aware of the channel shift theory by now: put reporting online, make it self-service, and see efficiency rise while costs fall.

    It sounds simple, but it hinges on one important factor – you have to get the reporting interface right. Otherwise, all those hassle-free online transactions turn into irate residents on the phone, seeking help.

    Citizen engagement

    On first impressions, many assume that FixMyStreet is just a public platform for grumbling – so it can be quite a surprise to discover that it often has the opposite effect. By allowing everyone to see what the problems are in their own community, it provides a platform for engagement, debate – and, sometimes, solutions.

    FixMyStreet is a superb tool for councils who are looking for ways to encourage residents to take a stake in their own communities.


    Any council web team worth its salt will be anxious to maximise usability across the website. FixMyStreet was designed with the user at its heart: from minimising the number of clicks it takes to make a report, to making sure that every step is as easy and comprehensible as possible.


    Modern society is demanding transparency across a vast array of organisations, not least government. By putting a record of every report online, FixMyStreet helps you fulfil those demands. And there are side benefits, too.

    First, FixMyStreet brings previously ‘hidden’ work into the open, allowing your residents to understand the degree and quantity of work you do on their behalf.

    And second, having reports online allows citizens to see at a glance whether their problem has already been reported, thus cutting down on duplicates – and saving you time.

    Lowering costs

    FixMyStreet is efficient when used on a desktop; it also works very easily on mobile devices, meaning that your residents help you crowd-source information. You’re effectively multiplying your inspection capabilities by a factor of hundreds, and your residents become your ‘eyes and ears on the ground’, as one of our client councils has said.

    Find out more

    Drop us a line now and we’ll get right back to you.


    Image credit: Dennis Skley (cc)

  4. FixMyStreet for Councils – designed with councils, for councils


    Today we launch FixMyStreet for Councils, our street issue reporting software designed for council websites and built in consultation with a wide variety of local authorities across the UK.  FixMyStreet for Councils enables local authorities to deal more cheaply and efficiently with street problem reports.

    The London Boroughs of Bromley and Barnet are the first local authorities to run the new FixMyStreet for Councils software.

    Our national FixMyStreet.com site has operated since 2007, helping people easily and quickly report issues to the council and see what issues have already been reported in their area. We knew we’d done something right when councils began to enquire about incorporating FixMyStreet into their own websites. These local authorities recognised the system’s usability and the benefits of putting reports online, saving their residents and themselves time and reducing duplicate reports.

    FixMyStreet for Councils is our response to this interest. It was built with input from different types of council – large, small, rural, urban – to see how we could put their requirements at the heart of the system while still prioritising their residents’ needs.

    FixMyStreet for Councils offers:

    • A branded cloud service seamlessly branded to reflect each council website’s look and feel;
    • Customisable front-end: councils can include their own wording, add new problem categories that are relevant to them and get rid of the ones that aren’t;
    • Mobile reporting options including mobile web pages and iPhone and Android apps with council’s branding;
    • A dashboard for council employees, allowing them to see, at a glance, which problems have been fixed and which are still outstanding;
    • Integration with the national FixMyStreet.com site – all issues reported on the council’s website are reflected on FixmyStreet.com, and vice-versa;
    • Optionally, full integration with existing CRM or fault management systems.

    FixMyStreet for Councils evolved from custom installations we created for several local authorities, including the London Borough of Barnet, who pioneered the software in January 2010. Chris Palmer, the Assistant Director of Communications at Barnet, says it has “made the council far more open, transparent and responsive”.  For an insight into the impact of FixMyStreet on Barnet’s relationship with its community, read our case study.

    Report page from FixMyStreet on the Barnet council website

    Channel shift

    Our launch comes in response to a growing need in councils. Across the country there’s an impetus to shift services online. It’s easier for people to engage with their council digitally, and it really improves the quality of their transactions. Plus it saves money – and as we know, councils are cutting budgets where they can in the current climate.

    SOCITM’s 2011 Channel Value Benchmarking survey underlines just how wide the cost gap can be. It reckons to £8.62 per face-to-face visit, £2.83 per phone call, and just £0.15 per visit to a council website.

    We’ve put a lot of thought into this launch and our hope is that it will be as beneficial for citizens as it is for the councils we built it for – after all, making services more efficient and saving them money is good for all of us.

    • FixMyStreet puts reports online for everyone to see, cutting down on duplicate reports
    • Back-end integration saves ‘re-keying’ time, when staff members are typing details into the council database
    • In the long run, FixMyStreet can increase citizen engagement, giving residents an enhanced feeling of empowerment, and a desire to safeguard the community
    • FixMyStreet for Councils is economically priced, and includes all hosting and maintenance, so it doesn’t place a burden on council IT staff
    • Residents become useful informers: Chris Palmer of Barnet Council describes FixMyStreet users as “our eyes and ears on the ground”

    Cost benefits aside, there’s an increasing desire from all of us to do things on the go, simply and quickly. We see it in the private sector, and we’re beginning to expect it in the public sector, too.

    For an insight into how FixMyStreet for Councils has altered the London Borough of Barnet’s relationship with its community, read our case study here.

    If you’d like to find out more about FixMyStreet for Councils, drop us a line or read more.