Peterborough City Council

A proactive approach for Peterborough

When it comes to their services, Peterborough are guided by one piece of smart thinking: if you anticipate citizens’ needs, you’ll save time and effort in every interaction.

When Peterborough came to us to enquire about FixMyStreet Pro, they were going through a number of big strategic transformations.

They’d invested in various systems which were working well for them, but each of which worked independently of the others. It made perfect sense to slot FixMyStreet Pro in, with its ability to ‘talk’ to other services and bring them all together into a single report management system.

“The introduction of FixMyStreet has brought significant improvements to the services we provide to our residents.”

The glue between four systems

A series of good decisions that worked for each department have resulted in Peterborough’s use of the following services:

They rely on the Confirm system, popular amongst councils, for the maintenance and management of assets like street lights and highways.

Then in the parks and green spaces department, Ezytreev stores all their data on where trees are located, records of their maintenance, and details of preservation orders.

“In all decisions, Peterborough has been led by the overarching aim of improving the customer journey.”

Peterborough made the big decision to bring their waste services, previously outsourced to a big contractor, back inhouse, and they’re using Bartec to facilitate this.

Finally Mayrise helps with management of the council’s street lighting inventory.

FixMyStreet, with its ability to interconnect with all four of these systems, was a great way to provide a single interface for staff and citizens, where reports can be made and kept updated as they travel through the relevant parts of the pipework. 

And as we’ll see, thanks to the continued development of SocietyWorks’ services, the waste provision will benefit from a usercentric interface that’s been developed through council partnerships.

“mySociety fully understood the challenges we face as a local authority.”

Highways: no more manual workflows

Prior to installing FixMyStreet Pro, Peterborough had been using a stopgap solution for street reports, after the service they had had in place ceased to exist. So, for some time, residents had been asked to make their reports through basic online forms. Not too onerous, but not exactly ideal, and they were hardly prime examples of usability.

The real pain point was mostly experienced, however, by council personnel. Customer services staff had the job of manually transferring the details from a spreadsheet and into the council’s Confirm CRM, where highways inspectors could pick up the reports and act upon them.

Then, once an issue had been resolved, inspectors manually updated another spreadsheet to let the customer service centre know of the status change, in case the report-maker called for an update.

There was no automated means by which a user could be updated with progress on reports, or told when an issue had been fixed.

Integrating with Confirm was a breeze for us: it’s such a common choice for councils that we’ve joined up with it many times before, providing two way updates between FixMyStreet and the CRM.

So at a stroke FixMyStreet Pro made life easier all round, for staff and for residents. Plus the easier internal workflow started to immediately save the council a substantial amount of time and money, while keeping citizens engaged and informed every step of the way.

A Peterborough tree

Trees: all on display

When a citizen picks ‘trees’ as a category, they’re shown the location of every tree in the area on the FixMyStreet map. This ensures that they identify the precisely correct positioning, saving time for surveyors. 

They’re then presented with categories ranging from ‘fallen branch’ to ‘problem with fungi’, so council staff know exactly what needs attending to. Photos can be added to reports to help depict the issue.

The reports are raised as enquiries directly in the Ezytreev system. Peterborough’s trees team can triage the reported issues immediately, and assign to a surveyor in the field who receives the inspection straight to their mobile device through Smart-sync. As the enquiry is progressed on the Ezytreev system the citizen is kept informed via updates automatically sent through FixMyStreet Pro.

Citizens can also suggest where new trees might be planted, and we’ll also soon be integrating live information such as hedge and verge cutting schedules, so the citizen will be able to see whether maintenance is scheduled before they lodge a request — saving time and effort both for them and the council.

Waste

FixMyStreet Pro is also integrated directly with Bartec, so reports on fly tipping and missed bins are routed into that system.And thanks to our work with Bromley council, we’ll soon be able to offer a missed bins reporting system which will use the smooth report-making interface of FixMyStreet, but keep interactions private between citizens and council.

Guiding principles

In all these decisions, Peterborough has been led by the overarching aim of improving the customer journey — to make processes smooth as they can be, and create the channel shift based savings that result from friction-free interactions.

“The easier internal workflow started to immediately save the council a substantial amount of time and money, while keeping citizens engaged and informed every step of the way.”

They’re big on anticipating the citizens’ need, proactively managing expectations in order to minimise the need for contact.

FixMyStreet Pro is ideal for this strategy, with its ability to automate updates as a report goes through the various stages toward resolution. 

It’s also provided a great opportunity to update outdated and arduous processes.

Improved efficiency

Councillor and Cabinet Member for Digital Services and Transformation Mohammed Farooq said, “The introduction of FixMyStreet has brought in significant improvements to the services we provide to our residents. FixMyStreet not only brings efficiencies to various service departments, it is very user friendly and easy to use for our residents. This improves the response time to our residents.”

And Peterborough’s ICT Project Manager Jason Dalby added, “mySociety fully understood the challenges we face as a local authority and very quickly turned our requirements into an automated fault reporting system with integration into our Highways back office Confirm system, improving our efficiency by eliminating manual data entry.”

Now that’s what we like to hear.

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