So how good is the York Councils customer management system?

Hopefully Councillors will raise the veil of secrecy on 12th June when they receive another report on “Digital Services”. It is the latest episode in a drama which has offered much but has, so far, delivered very little to customers.

Put simply, the Council fails to manage its electronic interface with customers to an acceptable standard. Much faith was placed in the IT project which is now running 18 months behind schedule. So far, the only “on line” reports, using the “My Account” system, that can be made, concern litter.

These are usually dealt with quickly but are not without hiccups. An automatically generated “issue closed” Email message recently proved to be incorrect. The reported broken bottle was still there several hours after the issue had been closed (it was reopened).

But the main concern is that the vast majority of issues simply can’t be reported via the Councils web site with any confidence that action will be taken. They simply disappear into the ether with apparently random reference numbers generated which citizens find impossible to match to individual reports.

As we have said before, the system still lacks the flexibility of proprietary solutions like “fix my street”.  The Council could have bought a system off the shelf – as most other authorities have done – and by now would have been off and running.

All the Council can promise is that 7 more street service issues will be added to the system by the end of the summer.

It does claim that around 1000 digital transactions are completed each week but this includes high volume financial transactions.

The Council has seen a significant drop in the number of telephone calls that it receives. Fewer people visited the Customer Centre last year.

Significantly though, the Council still does not provide speed stats on key interfaces like Email. It is three years since the Council promised to improve its performance on this access channel.

It does look to customers like Emails still take 48 hours to be passed from the customer centre to the responsible department.

Some departments do later respond to reports lodged in this way.

Many do not.  

Performance “open data” on web site not updated. No figures provided for volumes. Email numbers completely missing

6 months since responsible Executive member publicly reviewed performance of customer contact centre

What’s on in York: York Festival of Ideas

Various venues

Tue 6 Jun – Thu 18 Jun

Various times


The annual York Festival of Ideas returns from 6 to 18 June 2017 under the banner of The Story of Things. One of the largest free festivals in the UK, it offers a huge range of events including talks, exhibitions, theatre, music, film, guided walks, children’s activities and workshops – all designed to educate, entertain and inspire. With topics ranging from the ancient and natural worlds, to science and creative writing, and from cycling to the human mind, there’s something to interest everyone.

Now in its seventh year, this year’s Festival offers nearly 200 events, with over 150 of them free to attend. Headline speakers include Peter Lord, Co-founder and Creative Director of Academy Award® winning studio Aardman; Reverend Richard Coles, cleric, broadcaster and former Communard; Harriet Harman MP; Ed Balls, former Shadow Chancellor and star of Strictly Come Dancing 2016; Janina Ramirez, writer and broadcaster; Emma Jacobs, of the Financial Times, and Michael Rosen, novelist and poet.

Many of the events, including special Focus Days, tackle issues such as the future of work and democracy that affect us all. The Festival is also working with the French Embassy to launch an exciting new collaboration, ‘A Date with History’.

For more information about the events please visit this website.

What’s on in York: Save a Babies Life Workshop

York Explore Library :

Wed 7 Jun :

10.00am – 12.00pm :


Come and celebrate National Bookstart Week at York Libraries.

Are you a parent or carer of a 0-1 year old child? Come and learn some basic emergency skills at this workshop run by The Royal Life Saving Society UK.

Free but booking essential.

For more information please call York Explore Library or (01904) 552828 or