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New FixMyStreet Pro services for North Northamptonshire Council and West Northamptonshire Council

Two new installations of FixMyStreet Pro have been launched for North Northamptonshire Council and West Northamptonshire Council, respectively. 

Residents can use both services to report local street, highway and environment problems, such as potholes, fly-tipping and blocked drains, to the two councils. 

Report-makers are kept informed on the status of their reports thanks to an Open311 API integration with the councils’ backend systems, which are managed by their highways contractor Kier.

Existing reports are shown on the map, and potential duplicates are suggested to users within the reporting workflow. If the problem is the same, they can subscribe to the existing report instead of re-reporting. 

Getting reports to the right place

FixMyStreet Pro is a map-based system, which triages reports based on the location data and category selected within a report. 

Helpfully, because FixMyStreet Pro is built upon the national FixMyStreet platform, the two versions of the service are able to triage reports between North and West Northamptonshire automatically, as well as nationally to other councils and to National Highways. 

[FixMyStreet Pro] will allow us to manage our customer expectations in a much more streamlined approach and enables us to move into a new way of working.  We would like to thank SocietyWorks for their help and support in achieving this.

Michelle Johnson, Senior Business Improvement Officer at West Northamptonshire Council

For reports of issues not handled by Kier, FixMyStreet Pro will direct these to internal teams within each council, who can manage responses and updates from the FixMyStreet Pro administration dashboard. 

Meanwhile, reports of abandoned vehicles will be sent to Northamptonshire Police.

This functionality helps to prevent unnecessary contact and failure demand, while improving the reporting experience for members of the public.

Easy to use for everyone

FixMyStreet Pro is designed as a Progressive Web App (PWA), which means each council benefits from a web service that functions beautifully on any device, and can be downloaded to mobile devices to be used as an app without needing to maintain two codebases.

Being a PWA also means the service provides offline functionality, enabling people to start reports while offline, save them as drafts and complete them when connected to the internet again. 

This is ideal for North Northamptonshire and West Northamptonshire, where a large proportion of the areas covered by the councils are very rural. 

This will also benefit on-the-ground inspector staff, who will be able to use FixMyStreet Pro’s administration features while out and about, such as viewing a shortlist of reports, inspecting problems and updating reports.

Mobile and desktop versions of North and West Northamptonshire Councils' FixMyStreet Pro service

Supporting Northamptonshire’s unitary transition

FixMyStreet Pro was first introduced in the county of Northamptonshire by the former Northamptonshire County Council and Kier in 2019.

In 2021, a unitary split turned Northamptonshire County Council into North Northamptonshire Council and West Northamptonshire Council. 

The new councils each absorbed responsibility for Northamptonshire’s district councils, with different issues now going to a different council based on location and category. 

Working with NNC and WNC and SocietyWorks has been a pleasure throughout, and we hope to continue to expand upon the functionality provided.

Dhugal Leverett, Senior Software Developer at Kier Transportation

FixMyStreet Pro continued to provide a combined reporting service for the two new councils to ensure there was no interruption for residents wanting to report a problem and minimise confusion around which council was now responsible for what.

That was a great interim solution to help each council navigate their internal changes while keeping things simple for residents on the front end until each was in a position to be able to roll out their own branded service.

Fixing streets in Northamptonshire

The launch of FixMyStreet Pro for North Northamptonshire Council and West Northamptonshire Council has been a collaborative effort between SocietyWorks, the two councils and Kier.

Philip Beecroft, Head of Highways at North Northamptonshire Council, said: “We are delighted to have secured our own independent FixMyStreet system by working with SocietyWorks. 

“The separation of the former County-wide system to provide North and West Northamptonshire each with a standalone service allows us to move forward with our customer journey in a much more efficient way and will allow our Highways Service Provider, Kier, to expand on the existing integration between their Works Management system and FixMyStreet. This will allow us to make any necessary changes to ensure that our customers receive the best service.”

Speaking on behalf of West Northamptonshire Council, Michelle Johnson, Senior Business Improvement Officer, said: “We are delighted to have split the system between us and North Northamptonshire Council. 

“The split will allow us to manage our customer expectations in a much more streamlined approach and enables us to move into a new way of working.  We would like to thank SocietyWorks for their help and support in achieving this.”

Dhugal Leverett, Senior Software Developer at Kier Transportation, added: “Kier are pleased to be able to expand on the existing integration between our Works Management system and FixMyStreet.

“Working with NNC and WNC and SocietyWorks has been a pleasure throughout, and we hope to continue to expand upon the functionality provided.”

Angela Dixon, Managing Director at SocietyWorks, said: “I’m really proud of how we’ve been able to support North Northamptonshire and West Northamptonshire throughout this project.

“It’s wonderful to see our technology being used to its full potential by local authorities, to see how it supports authorities through times of change and uncertainty while transitioning to unitary, and always while keeping residents at the front and centre.”

Want to learn more about FixMyStreet Pro? Get in touch and we’ll be happy to answer your questions.


You can now customise FixMyStreet Pro’s duplicate report radius per category

An update has been made to FixMyStreet Pro’s duplicate report suggestion feature to enable staff users to customise the radius within which potential duplicate reports are suggested to users on a per category basis.

Councils and other public sector organisations using FixMyStreet Pro benefit from the ability to suggest potential duplicate reports to users. 

If the problem that’s about to be reported is indeed a duplicate, FixMyStreet Pro encourages the user to subscribe to the existing report instead of creating a new one, saving time for the would-be report-maker and creating no extra work for the authority.

 

A screenshot of Lincolnshire County Council's FixMyStreet Pro service, showing the duplicate report suggestion feature
A screenshot of Lincolnshire County Council’s FixMyStreet Pro service, showing the duplicate report suggestion feature

 

The duplicate suggestion tool uses the location and category of the in-progress report to scan for existing reports of a similar nature within a certain radius. By default the tool scans for open reports, but authorities can customise this to also include internal, closed, fixed or even related sub-category reports.

Last year we announced an update which enabled the different councils and authorities using FixMyStreet Pro to customise the radius within which reports are suggested for their individual version of the service.

Now, a second update means the radius can also be customised per category. 

This allows even more flexibility for authorities, who can incorporate many different service areas into their FixMyStreet Pro service, the categories for which may benefit from a larger or smaller radius.

For example, a larger radius can be useful for reports about issues that are likely to cover a large area, where users may drop a pin in a number of places to report the same issue. 

Meanwhile, a smaller radius can be more helpful for categories of problems in areas where there may be lots of reports of similar, but not identical problems.

For more information about this feature, or about FixMyStreet Pro in general, please get in touch.


Integrating FixMyStreet Pro with Microsoft Entra ID for Transport for London

A new integration has been completed between FixMyStreet Pro and Microsoft Entra ID (formerly known as Azure Active Directory) for Transport for London (TfL).

Using an OpenID Connect-compliant endpoint, the integration enables TfL staff user accounts on FixMyStreet Pro to be securely linked to TfL’s Entra ID. 

Screenshot of TfL's Single Sign On gateway on their FixMyStreet Pro service

This makes it easier and faster for authorised staff to log in to the FixMyStreet Pro administration dashboard, from which they can access different features depending on their account type permissions. 

It also means that roles are automatically synced between the two systems, with a user’s assigned role and account access on Entra ID automatically reflected in FixMyStreet Pro. This increases security and decreases the administrative burden for authorities who provide access to large teams. 

FixMyStreet Pro’s administration features include:

  1. Viewing all reports
  2. Editing or updating reports
  3. Making reports on behalf of members of the public who call or email the contact centre
  4. Assigning reports to inspectors
  5. Creating and editing response templates
  6. Viewing and exporting report data for analysis

Helping care for London’s streets

TfL’s FixMyStreet Pro service, known as Streetcare, allows members of the public to report problems such as potholes, faulty street lights and damaged bus shelters on London’s roads straight to the highway authority. 

Through FixMyStreet Pro’s connection to the national FixMyStreet service, it is capable of triaging reports of problems that are not the responsibility of TfL to the correct borough council or, in some areas, the responsible housing association. 

Screenshot of TfL's Streetcare service, which is powered by FixMyStreet Pro

Users who don’t realise the problem they want to report via Streetcare cannot be addressed by TfL will be diverted to the national FixMyStreet site. Meanwhile, reports of abandoned hire bikes and scooters are sent directly to the correct operator

FixMyStreet Pro works this out on behalf of report-makers according to the location and category of the problem, mitigating against the creation of failure demand. This is particularly helpful in places like London where a vast number of authorities are responsible for overlapping issues. 

Vice versa, it is possible for reports of problems that are the responsibility of TfL made via a council or other authority’s own instance of FixMyStreet Pro to be automatically diverted. See below an example of how this works on the London Borough of Bexley’s FixMyStreet Pro service, which allows users to make reports using Bexley’s site, but sends them to TfL:

Image shows a desktop and mobile example of Bexley Council's FixMyStreet Pro, with 'red routes' highlighted, which send reports to TfL

Wherever you are in the UK, FixMyStreet Pro can help you to provide a more efficient, intuitive and streamlined reporting service. Find out more


Integrating FixMyStreet Pro with Abavus My Council Services for Buckinghamshire Council

Buckinghamshire Council has been using FixMyStreet Pro to manage inbound street, highway and environment fault reports since 2018. 

Last year we shared the news that two new integrations had been completed into Buckinghamshire’s FixMyStreet Pro service: one into Causeway’s Alloy asset management system and the other into DWF’s EvoClaim system. 

Following this, a third integration has been implemented between FixMyStreet Pro and the Abavus My Council Services (MCS) CRM system, which was introduced by Buckinghamshire for handling customer queries, such as street cleaning and other environment reports.

Designed for optimal display on desktop, tablet and mobile browsers, users can quickly ‘Add FixMyStreet to Home Screen’ on their mobile device to use the service as an app.

Integrating the MCS system with FixMyStreet Pro means residents will now be able to enjoy the same user-friendly experience when reporting street cleaning and environment problems as they do for other local issues, while staff can manage the relationship from MCS in the background.

“This project has made such a difference to our staff. It’s truly innovative and significantly enhances the ease with which people can work. The impact has been really positive.”

– Callum Lynam, Buckinghamshire Council’s Customer Improvement Manager

As with all integrations into FixMyStreet Pro, the MCS integration provides a two-way exchange of data, with changes made in one system automatically updated and reflected directly in the other.

For residents, there is no difference in the user experience when reporting an issue that will be sent to MCS or to Alloy; all of the complicated triaging is handled by FixMyStreet Pro behind the scenes. 

For more information about FixMyStreet Pro, get in touch.


New category search functionality added to FixMyStreet

Users of FixMyStreet can now select an appropriate category for their report using a newly added search bar.

After locating the problem they want to report, either by typing in a location or locating themselves automatically using GPS and dropping a pin on the map, users can type in the search bar to find an available category.

The search functionality will begin to suggest available categories to the user, who can either select one, continue searching or choose from a list of all available categories, the latter of which was previously the only option.

It’s important to note that categories are set by each individual council or authority to reflect the issues they can deal with. 

Improving accuracy and user experience

The category selected by a report-maker is responsible for the routing of the report and dictates any automated messaging sent to them, making it a very important thing to get right.

We carried out some independent user testing with members of the public to see if using a search bar to find a category made things easier and more accurate. 

Image shows how the FixMyStreet search function works on both desktop and mobile devices

 

We found that searching for a category on FixMyStreet does in fact make it not only faster for users to find the category they’re looking for by narrowing down their options, but also assists them in finding the best one to help the responsible authority respond appropriately.

For example, should a member of the public type in the word ‘sign’, FixMyStreet will display a list of available subcategories relating to problems with and adjacent to signs, helping them choose the exact problem they have found.

Next steps: local language and controlled vocabularies

A challenge we’re currently exploring solutions to is how we teach the search functionality to accommodate the fact that there can be multiple words for the same thing. For example, what the council calls a drain, might not be the same as what a member of the public calls it. 

There are also linguistic differences in terms of what something is called in one area of the UK versus another. 

To mitigate the risk of confusion and improve accessibility we are prototyping the use of controlled vocabularies to organise search terms, including attaching variants and related terms to so-called  ‘preferred’ or ‘standard’ terms. 

Whatever we do, we need to make sure the search functionality doesn’t produce an unwieldy list of potential matches. 

It’s a work in progress, and we’ll hopefully have more to share soon!

For councils or other authorities using FixMyStreet Pro, the search functionality will be rolled out to your individual instance of the service soon. Please speak to your account manager if you have any questions.

For everyone else, here’s where you can find more information about:

  • FixMyStreet – the national reporting service for local problems run by civic technology charity mySociety since 2007;
  • FixMyStreet Pro – the fully integrated version of FixMyStreet, run by SocietyWorks (the wholly owned subsidiary of mySociety) and developed in collaboration with councils.

Groups and multiple categories added to FixMyStreet Pro dashboard filters

Councils and other authorities using FixMyStreet Pro can filter and export all of their report data via the administration dashboard. 

Reports can be filtered and exported by date, category, ward, state (eg. open or closed) and role (eg. as well as reports made by citizens, some might be made by customer service operatives while others might be by on-the-ground engineers and officers).

A new update to the dashboard means staff users can now do more with the category filter, having the option to select groups of reports via parent categories or even select multiple categories at once for export.

This update should make it easier and faster to refine data selections. For example, if you were interested in seeing all reports about problems related to street lighting, instead of clicking each and every street lighting category you can simply select the parent category  ‘All street lighting’.

Here’s an example of how it looks on Oxfordshire County Council’s FixMyStreet Pro:

Screenshot of Oxfordshire County Council's FixMyStreet Pro administration dashboard showing the category filter drop down menu

Alternatively, you might want to view all reports of faults with drains and bollards, so you can select both at the same time. See below an example of how this works on Camden Council’s FixMyStreet Pro:

Screenshot of Camden Council's FixMyStreet Pro administration dashboard showing the category filter drop down menu

Data exports can be accessed via the dashboard web page or by programmatic access via the API, the latter of which can be used to import the data straight into a business intelligence platform.

Want more information about FixMyStreet Pro? Find it here.


Managing expectations during periods of seasonal demand with FixMyStreet Pro

With bad winter weather comes an annual spike in reports to councils and other responsible authorities about problems such as fallen trees, flooding and ever-forming potholes across the UK’s road network. 

And with climate change creating increasingly extreme and unpredictable weather events, it has never been more important to communicate transparently with the public about what is and is not possible to fix. Not only does this help to reduce expensive unnecessary contact and failure demand, it also supports the prevention of citizen disengagement through disappointment with how reports are dealt with.

Since its launch in 2012, we have introduced in collaboration with our clients numerous features to our street, highway and environmental fault reporting solution FixMyStreet Pro to help them through periods of seasonal demand. Take a look at some of them below.

Set some site-wide messaging 

Staff users have the ability to log into the FixMyStreet Pro administration dashboard and set messaging to display across their installation of the service. These messages can also be scheduled to only appear at certain times, such as out of hours.

You might want to make report-makers aware that you are receiving a high volume of reports which may delay response times, or perhaps you want to direct them to seasonal advice or policies to help them understand how you prioritise reports. 

Alternatively, you can use the site-wide messaging feature to provide emergency contact details for certain problems.

Take a look at an example from Northumberland County Council’s FixMyStreet Pro:

Screenshot of Northumberland County Council's FixMyStreet Pro homepage showing messaging detailing emergency contact details and winter maintenance policies

And another from Buckinghamshire Council’s version of the service:

Screenshot of winter messaging added to Buckinghamshire Council's FixMyStreet Pro service

Upload videos to provide extra information

As well as setting site-wide messaging, some authorities also upload videos to their FixMyStreet Pro service to give report-makers even more information about how they approach resolving local problems during periods of high demand.

For example, Buckinghamshire Council has uploaded a video to the homepage of its FixMyStreet Pro service to explain its winter maintenance priorities and manage expectations.

Screenshot of the homepage of Buckinghamshire Council's FixMyStreet Pro showing the winter maintenance video

Meanwhile, Oxfordshire County Council uses video to illustrate its intervention criteria and ensure its residents understand what can and can’t be fixed. 

Screenshot of Oxfordshire County Council's FixMyStreet Pro homepage showing their video which explains what the council can and can't fix

Include photos and extra questions within the report form

Another clever way to manage report-makers’ expectations is to include photos and extra questions within the FixMyStreet Pro report form to help qualify the seriousness of the problem at hand and proactively explain whether it meets your intervention criteria. 

Bath & North East Somerset Council does this for reports of blocked drains to help collect the most accurate information about the severity of the issue so that they know how to respond. 

Screenshot of an extra question used by Bath & North East Somerset Council which appears when a user selects the blocked drains category

Divert emergency reports  

During periods of high demand, it’s crucial that emergencies don’t get lost in a queue of other less urgent problems. For this reason, FixMyStreet Pro gives councils and other authorities multiple ways to communicate about and divert emergencies.

In addition to using the site-wide messaging and extra questions mentioned above, it’s also possible for staff to display emergency messaging for certain report categories, or even disable those reports entirely. 

Here’s an example of how Shropshire Council diverts reports of fuel spillages:

Screenshot of an emergency message which appears on Shropshire Council's installation of FixMyStreet Pro

Edit response templates 

Expectation management doesn’t stop after reports have been submitted. FixMyStreet Pro enables staff users to set up and edit response templates to correspond to different report statuses. These responses are sent to report-makers whenever a report’s status changes to ensure they and anyone subscribed to the report is kept informed of its progress.

See an example of how Lincolnshire County Council responds to reports via its FixMyStreet Pro service, giving users a clear indication of the time-frames within which a response can be expected:

Screenshot of some of the responses sent to report-makers by Lincolnshire County Council

When report volume is high, authorities can edit these templates or even create new ones specifically to communicate that responses may take longer than usual, or to educate about how issues are prioritised. 

These templates can be managed from within the FixMyStreet Pro administration dashboard or they can correspond to an integrated asset management or CRM system.

 

Display scheduled works on the map

It can often be the case that members of the public go to report an issue about which you’re already aware, so when demand is already high, keeping duplication down is paramount. 

As well as suggesting possible duplicates within a customisable radius to report-makers and encouraging them to subscribe instead of re-reporting, FixMyStreet Pro also enables authorities to display on the map scheduled maintenance works to eliminate the need for reports to be made at all.

Oxfordshire County Council’s FixMyStreet Pro has special map pins dedicated to works reported and scheduled for repair by the council itself. 

Screenshot of Oxfordshire County Council's FixMyStreet Pro map showing special pins to indicate scheduled works

Just as no two councils are the same, no two of our FixMyStreet Pro installations are the same either. If you’re interested in learning more about FixMyStreet Pro and how it could work for you, please get in touch

Image: Rob Wingate


Faster data export downloads from FixMyStreet Pro and WasteWorks

Staff users of our FixMyStreet Pro and WasteWorks solutions will now benefit from much faster data export downloads thanks to a new update we’ve made to the export functionality. Exports should now be ready to start downloading within a short space of time.

The faster download speeds apply to both user access through the dashboard web page, or programmatic access via the API, making it particularly useful for those of our clients which use Power BI to track performance levels. 

Example of the administration dashboard of FixMyStreet Pro and WasteWorks from which staff users can filter and export report data

In order to be performant, data is now pre-generated overnight ready for export, so it’s worth noting the CSV export won’t include information from the current day.

Standard data exports contain all the information about reports or requests made via FixMyStreet Pro and/or WasteWorks, including categories, states and device types, and can be filtered by date, ward, category, status and administrator role. Exports can also be customised according to the requirements of individual clients.

FixMyStreet Pro and WasteWorks customers also have access to a heatmap showing the concentration of reports by area

If you’re a client of FixMyStreet Pro or WasteWorks and would like any help with data exports, please open a ticket via the support desk system.

Or if you’re interested in finding out more about our solutions, get in touch

Image: Carlos Muza


Gloucestershire County Council switches to FixMyStreet Pro

SocietyWorks has launched a new, dedicated installation of FixMyStreet Pro for Gloucestershire County Council, through which residents can report local street, highway and environmental problems. 

Gloucestershire County Council joins more than 30 other local authorities, highways agencies and other public bodies in using FixMyStreet Pro for managing inbound reports of local problems such as potholes, broken street lights and problems with highway drains. 

Integrated with the Council’s asset management system Confirm, FixMyStreet Pro’s intelligent, map-based interface will make it much easier for residents to accurately report a problem and stay updated on its resolution.

Image shows a desktop computer and mobile device version of FixMyStreet Pro for Gloucestershire County Council

With all reports and their statuses displayed on the map, the ability to subscribe to existing reports and the automatic, nationwide diversion of reports that are the responsibility of another authority, FixMyStreet Pro will improve things for customers and help Gloucestershire County Council to better manage expectations, eliminate duplication of effort and reduce avoidable customer contact, freeing up staff time for urgent cases or to help residents who need additional support.

Designed as a progressive web app, residents can choose to use Gloucestershire County Council’s branded version of FixMyStreet Pro as a website or as an app, with no obligation either way.   

Cllr Dom Morris, cabinet member responsible for highways and flooding at Gloucestershire County Council said: “I am pleased to say it is now easier for people to report issues and keep updated on repair work. We are always looking for ways to be proactive and improve our highways services.

“This summer we have been trialling new methods to speed-up repairs and engineers have been working day and night to strengthen the road network. Fix My Street is another innovation that will improve things for our customers and boost efficiency. Keeping Gloucestershire moving is a top priority and the council are investing heavily in better roads for residents.”

Angela Dixon, Managing Director at SocietyWorks said: “Since its launch in 2012, every feature of FixMyStreet Pro has been built to meet the needs of councils and their residents. No two integrations of the solution are the same, because no two councils are the same, but they all benefit from its incredible ability to create an end-to-end reporting process that’s as intuitive as possible. We look forward to seeing the impact the solution has for Gloucestershire County Council and its residents.”

Request a short demo to see how FixMyStreet Pro could work for your authority.


Abandoned hire bikes and e-scooters can now be reported via FixMyStreet

Citizens in London can now report abandoned hire bikes and e-scooters via FixMyStreet, which will send reports directly to the operator responsible. 

A new report category has been added to FixMyStreet to enable citizens to report abandoned hire bikes and e-scooters in and around London. Reports of such problems can also be made via FixMyStreet Pro, the individually branded and integrated version of the service used by several London borough councils and by Transport for London (TfL).

Importantly, any reports submitted under this category, whether made on the national FixMyStreet site or via an authority’s own branded FixMyStreet Pro service, are sent directly to the operator responsible for the abandoned bike or e-scooter. FixMyStreet is currently able to triage reports to Lime, Dott, Forest and Tier.

 

Abandoned hire bikes or scooters can be reported via the mobile and desktop versions of FixMyStreet and will be sent directly to Lime, Dott, Forest, Tier or TfL

 

Upon selecting the ‘Abandoned bikes/scooters’ category, FixMyStreet asks report-makers to select which operator is responsible for the bike or e-scooter in question. Reports are then sent to the appropriate operator, containing all the other useful information included as standard in a FixMyStreet report, such as the report-maker’s details, easting and northing, latitude and longitude, nearest postcode to the pin placed on the map and more.

There is also the option to report abandoned Santander Cycles to TfL via FixMyStreet, which has been available since 2020. Whenever a report-maker selects the ‘Abandoned Santander Cycle’ category, these reports will be automatically triaged to TfL, even when made via a London council’s own FixMyStreet Pro service or TfL’s. 

 

Brent Council’s FixMyStreet Pro service takes reports for abandoned hire bikes or scooters and sends them straight to the relevant operator

 

Angela Dixon, Managing Director at SocietyWorks, said: “The provision of cycle and e-scooter hire schemes helps councils to support greener local travel and alleviate capacity pressures on peak time public transport services. However, when incidents of abandonment occur they create a nuisance for residents and put an unnecessary strain on council customer services, who have to manually triage reports to their contracted operators.

“We hope this new feature of FixMyStreet and FixMyStreet Pro helps to ease some of that pressure and its associated costs by ensuring reports of abandoned bikes and e-scooters are sent straight to the people who can deal with them, and in turn get neighbourhoods tidied up faster for residents.

“While currently only available in London, we hope to be able to replicate this across the UK in the future for the benefit of more citizens who live in areas where such schemes are in operation.”

FixMyStreet can also be used by citizens to report other local problems such as potholes, fly-tipping and broken street lights. The service has been run since 2007 by civic technology charity mySociety, while the integrated Pro version of the service is run by the charity’s subsidiary SocietyWorks.

Visit the FixMyStreet website for more information about the national service, or if you’re a council or other public body who would like to use the software as your own, find out more about FixMyStreet Pro here.


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