Austerity left many councils struggling, with some even on the verge of bankruptcy. And then came the pandemic, a new and unexpected drain on resources from many different directions.
There are public information campaigns to run, pavements to widen, vulnerable people to look after, foodbanks to support — and a considerable number of citizens without income to feed into the tax system.
Against this background, splashing out for a new piece of software may be the last thing on your mind. But counterintuitive though it may be, this is one purchase that will save on costs.
Here are five reasons why:
If you’d like to ask more about FixMyStreet Pro and its potential to save authorities money, do join us for a webinar.You can book a slot here or drop us a line if you don’t see a date that suits you.
Image: Adeolu Eletu
Have you considered using FixMyStreet Pro as part of an application to the Emergency Active Travel Fund? The service can easily be adapted to allow citizens make requests for cycle paths and street widening, for example, or to report areas where social distancing is difficult and intervention is needed.
This way, your covid action plan becomes needs led, instigated by the community without the need for expensive surveys or reports.
The pandemic has brought many changes to the way we move around our towns and cities, and authorities are having to adapt to them quickly.
FixMyStreet Pro offers one quick and easy way to reflect the new requirements we have of our environments: the addition of new report categories.
Some authorities are already taking advantage of this and have added categories that enable citizens to request wider pavements or cycle paths, or note where social distancing signage might be useful.
You can also head off the type of report that is better made elsewhere: for example, if a citizen wishes to report a business for poor practice — a report that clearly shouldn’t be public on your website — they can be routed towards the correct channel to do so, perhaps a phone number or a private contact form.
As a FixMyStreet Pro client, you can add, remove, or rename categories as needed; you can also nest subcategories, or place a subcategory under more than one main category to help users find it.
If you’d like to know more about categories, or any other feature, do join us for a webinar, so we can take you through FixMyStreet Pro’s main features and answer any questions you may have. You can book a slot here or drop us a line if you don’t see a date that suits you.
Image: Dan Burton
Lockdown has changed the way we are all working. During the last few months, the UK has been asked to work from home where possible, and even as some restrictions are eased, we’re expecting to see this arrangement continue for those who are shielding themselves or family members.
Some workplaces have realised that a remote set-up brings benefits to staff and to the organisation as a whole, and may never go back to ‘normal’.
As you may be aware, SocietyWorks and our parent organisation mySociety have been remote from their very beginnings: staff members are located all around the UK, all working from home and communicating online.
Pre-covid, we’d often visit councils face to face, perhaps to offer advice or make a pitch while they were considering the purchase of FixMyStreet Pro; and then sometimes again during set-up to speak with the IT department and make sure everyone was confident about how our systems would integrate.
But such visits aren’t actually a necessity, as we proved during Lincolnshire’s implementation. This was managed 100% remotely, and so smoothly that Andrea Bowes, Lincolnshire’s ICT Data and Information Systems Architect, told us that they hadn’t even noticed that we’d never been in the same room together!
There’s no need at all for either us or your staff to be in the office at any stage of implementation: as a cloud-based service, FixMyStreet can be set up from anywhere. And thanks to our own way of working, SocietyWorks are so used to video calls, email and shared documentation that it’s just as simple for us to conduct any staff training virtually. Don’t worry if you’re not used to that sort of thing (though we suspect that most people have had to become experts pretty quickly over the last few weeks!); we’ll handle all the logistics.
Looking to the future, if you are looking at having your customer service staff working at home on an ongoing basis, we’ll be happy to offer as much support and advice as you need — about FixMyStreet Pro, or more widely. Of course, all our staff tools can be accessed from anywhere, so there are no issues from that point of view. But we’d be happy to go a step further and give any advice you might need on home working, based on our many years of experience.
As a first step into seeing what the experience of working virtually with SocietyWorks is, why not join us for a webinar, when we’ll take you through FixMyStreet Pro’s main features and answer any questions you may have. You can book a slot here or drop us a line if you don’t see a date that suits you.
Image: Chris Montgomery