Single MyAccount log-in for Westminster
If any council knows the pressures of keeping its streets maintained, it must be the London borough of Westminster. It’s one of the busiest neighbourhoods in the capital, containing many of our best-known tourist attractions while also being the seat of power. Many would regard it as a flagship for the whole of the UK, and one can understand the need to keep everything in order.
Thanks to the borough’s FixMyStreet Pro integration, though, it’s all in hand. Reports made either via their own website or on fixmystreet.com drop directly into the council’s MSDynamics365 implementation, then onto the line of business system, with information flowing both ways.
A phased roll-out saw Westminster launch with seven common categories of fault including graffiti and fly tipping, before extending the service to cover potholes, street signs and lights.
Users can make a report either via fixmystreet.com or on the Westminster website, and in either case they’ll go directly into the council systems to be dealt with. There’s also the option to use the council’s My Westminster portal, making the process even quicker and easier for citizens who are already logged in there.
The council was satisfied with its internal systems for report handling, but both senior staff and councillors agreed that they wanted to offer something more user-friendly for their website visitors.
FixMyStreet Pro is the ideal solution in this situation: we’ve worked for years on making the interface resolutely simple for all to use, and it can connect with any existing internal set-up.
As with all FixMyStreet Pro installs, this one has its own distinct features. It was a very collaborative project with the council, in which they provided a specialised adapter that allows FixMyStreet to connect with their CRM, and we managed the configuration and a single sign-in functionality.
This involved integration with the council’s own My Westminster log-in, a pre-existing service where users can keep track of their reports, planning applications and so on.
As well as the normal interfaces, you can now make a report through a My Westminster account, and this means that only a single log-in is required: ideal for the local resident who may be completing several community-based tasks in short order.
Westminster use Microsoft Dynamics 365 for their CRM, so FixMyStreet Pro needed to be able to pass reports into it and retrieve status updates back from it, all with no interruption to users or staff. This was achieved with an adapter, specially created by Westminster’s IT department, and the Open311 protocol which allows for a standard report output.
As a London borough, Westminster also gain from TfL’s FixMyStreet Pro integration, which ensures reports from any platform are triaged to the correct authority. Read more about that here.
This installation also features something we haven’t implemented before: anonymous reporting.
“Westminster were a shining example of best practice when it comes to implementing a new service.”
For a really frictionless experience, users can log an issue without providing contact details or even a name. Of course, if this option is chosen, they won’t get any updates to the report’s status, but it certainly makes things quick and easy.
This was a good fit for Westminster, where reports may be made by the borough’s many visitors who may be uninterested in creating an account just to report a single issue.
Not every council likes to accept anonymous reports — it’s something each authority will make its own decision about, and it does mean the user doesn’t get the benefit of automated status updates, which can lead to more issue-chasing and higher handling costs — but the option is there for anyone implementing FixMyStreetPro now.
Westminster were a shining example of best practice when it comes to implementing a new service. They did something that ideally all authorities would do when introducing a new online system, inviting potential users in to have a go, and feed back their thoughts.
Once they had had a chance to enjoy that amazing view from the council offices, local residents tried out the report making interface. SocietyWorks designer Martin was there to take notes, and users’ feedback was added directly into our development roadmap.
It was the ideal way to ensure that they, and all residents of Westminster, would be happy with their new service, able to use it without impediment and likely to become ambassadors to help spread its use in the borough.
But it’s not just the citizens we care about: it’s of equal importance that staff will be happy too. Fortunately, it seems like that’s in the bag.
Councillor Paul Swaddle, Cabinet Member for Customer Services and Digital, Westminster City Council, says: “mySociety have been professional, from the point of contracting all the way through to deployment of our new ‘Report it’ application.
“Their team worked in partnership with council staff to integrate FixMyStreet into our systems including CRM against challenging timescales. They also supported us in delivering several successful resident engagement sessions, and quickly reflecting user feedback in the WCC branded version of the site.
“mySociety’s knowledge and experience helped us deliver this project smoothly to further improve the efficiency and transparency of our City Management teams.”