We’re rolling out two new SocietyWorks offerings, to extend the capabilities of FixMyStreet Pro while providing new and much needed services for councils. In this blog post, we’ll be introducing what we’ve been doing around Waste, and in the follow-up, you can find out how we’re approaching Noise.
In the past 24 months FixMyStreet Pro has become the street report service of choice for dozens of local authorities. This has given us the investment that we have needed to broaden the range of services we offer to cater to the myriad ways that citizens might want to contact their council.
As always, that has meant going back to our clients to ensure that we have a full understanding of what they really need, before looking at how we can transform that into a proposition that helps with efficiencies and cost savings, whilst ensuring easy engagement for citizens.
In this case, we’ve been working closely with the team at the London Borough of Bromley, asking them all sorts of questions: how do citizens order a new bin or container? What do we need to know about collection schedules? And if a bin gets missed, what’s the ideal route to resolving the problem?
We ran workshops with the Bromley team, which helped us fully understand the requirements of a busy council in the handling of complex residential waste offerings. They’ve had full input into the build of the new service, testing and feeding back on our early prototypes and alpha stages.
“It’s great to be working with our partners at SocietyWorks on developing a new feature for FixMyStreet Pro.
“There are some unique demands of the Waste Service which make it a little different to how our other services interact with FixMyStreet, as well as being a service that ranks high on the citizen and political agenda.
“The SocietyWorks team have really taken the time to understand those demands and we’re looking forward to completing the testing and tweaks and going live!”
– Jonathan Richards, Technical Support Team Manager at Bromley
As with any new development, piecing together a really effective online Waste service brought its own set of fiddly issues to work through.
As just one example: we’ve had to understand the windows of time within which a citizen can report a missed bin collection, and how a bank holiday affects those timings — all second nature to those who have been working within those timescales for years, but a definite coding challenge for us! Just to be sure, we’ve conducted in-depth tests to make sure that no missing bin reports fall through the cracks.
“Designing a service that serves the citizen, but also works for the authority is a balancing act.
“But we’ve found it’s entirely achievable. The first step is to listen to citizens’ needs: that sets you on the right path.
“Then, that understanding can feed into the workflow, so long as you’re open to working in a responsive and flexible way — which might mean being proven wrong at some points along the line, and changing direction accordingly.”
Martin Wright, mySociety Designer
The plan is to launch the new service in the next four to six weeks, and then we’ll be working on phase two, which will include workflows that allow citizens to take actions such as ordering a bulky waste collection, and making payments. The discovery work for this has already started, and we’ll be sure to post updates about the progress over the next month.
We’re currently integrating with Bromley’s Veolia system, but as with our street services we already integrate with all of the popular CRM and asset management systems and we’ll apply the same approach to all of the main Waste management services – we’d love to hear from councils who might be interested in this.
If you’d like to chat or find out more details of the new waste product, please contact David through our online form or the details at the foot of this page.