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Northamptonshire County Council

A one-off investment bringing continual returns

To build in-house or to invest in a third-party system: that was the question for Northamptonshire. Buying into FixMyStreet Pro, with its continuous process of development, turned out to be the best solution — for many reasons.

Northamptonshire’s decision to implement FixMyStreet Pro represents something of a full circle: in prior years, the authority had returned any reports sent through FixMyStreet, asking residents to submit via their own interface instead.The aim was to avoid ‘rekeying’ the details from emails into their inhouse system, a time-intensive task for staff. But of course, time saved for staff meant an irritation for the citizen who had already submitted the report once, and was now being asked to do it all again.

“By purchasing FixMyStreet Pro off the shelf, they pass any risk on to us — and we’re happy to shoulder it.”

Happily, integrating FixMyStreet to drop reports directly into their backend means that there’s no longer any need for rekeying on either side — and whether the citizen makes that report through the council website or on fixmystreet.com, it will go to the right place automatically.

A decision based on reputation

What prompted this change in systems? Timing, and our reputation, it would seem.

Northants had been using their own frontend system named Street Doctor, coupled with the Exor asset management system behind the scenes — but when the contract with Exor was up for renewal, they decided it was time for a change, giving them a hard deadline by which a solution needed to be put in place.

The council chose Yotta Alloy as their new asset management system, but that decision in turn meant that the council’s contractors, Kier, had to find a new frontend that matched this newer technology.

Northants considered building their own interface, but we’re glad to say that Kier recommended purchasing FixMyStreet rather than reinventing the wheel. While the opportunity and budget were both there for the council to create something bespoke, it was recognised that by purchasing FixMyStreet Pro off the shelf, they pass any risk on to us — and we’re happy to shoulder it.

Northamptonshire

Continuous development

What’s more, it’s an investment that will keep bringing returns, unlike a one-off piece of internal development. FixMyStreet Pro is in a continuous process of development, with every new innovation feeding through to all our clients so that they can gain from them. So, as we continue to refine the service, there are ever increasing options and features available. They’re all built in consultation with our client authorities and all designed to make the report process easier and smoother for both citizens and staff. Client councils have the opportunity to feed into our development roadmap and help us prioritise what to work on next.

“Integrating FixMyStreet to drop reports directly into the backend means that there’s no longer any need for rekeying.”

Reporting to Kier via Yotta

It’s great to have the confidence of a contractor like Kier, as it shows that FixMyStreet Pro is appreciated and trusted right across the sector. Kier themselves didn’t need to integrate with FixMyStreet, however: Yotta Alloy act as the middleman, from which Kier pick up reports. The information provided by the user ensures they go to the right team.

It’s great to have the confidence of a contractor like Kier, as it shows that FixMyStreet Pro is appreciated and trusted right across the sector.

As Kier inspectors and maintenance workers update the status of reports on their system, updates flow into Yotta Alloy. That information is then automatically pushed back to FixMyStreet and to the original report maker. And should a council inspector create a new report in Yotta, this too is displayed on FixMyStreet, helping to prevent the duplicate reporting of issues that are already in hand.

Direct reports pose no problem

Meanwhile, the council’s own customer service staff input any reports they receive by phone, email or in person, directly to FixMyStreet Pro. Whatever the channel used, reports travel seamlessly into the right places.

So Northants have ended up with a neat solution, involving three different suppliers all working in harmony. The net result is a quicker, more integrated and more effective service for the citizens of Northants.

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