Personal data lost from York Council App

The Council’s “One Planet” App has been hacked.

The App is no longer available according to the Council’s web site

Apparently a third party told the Council some days ago that they had been able to access the personal details of individual users of the system. The n umber of users potentially affected is not known.

The Council has yet to issue a media statement.

York Council set to abandon “Smarter York” issue reporting system

Following technology problems, the York Council is planning to abandon its “Smarter York” mobile based issue reporting system.

Labour Councillors promoting the Smarter York "App" in London   3 years ago.

Labour Councillors promoting the Smarter York “App” in London 3 years ago.

About 30 issues a month were being reported using the system.

However, for several months, computer faults prevented users viewing the progress made on the issues that they raised.

Now, lack of confidence in the system, has seen fewer than 1 report a week recently being posted with most seemingly being recorded by Council officials

The system has been heavily criticised over the last couple of years.

The alternative, internet based, “report it” on line system was also abandoned by the Council when it moved offices a couple of years ago

Now the Council is saying that it will discontinue the Smarter York service when a new “customer relationship management system” is introduced.

This is the system that should have been ready in May.

 No explanation for the delayed introduction has been provided by the Council and no forecast of when residents will be able to use it has been provided.

We continue to find that proprietary systems like “Fix My Street” are much more user friendly than the alternatives authored by local authorities.

Time to get on top of weed growth on our roads and footpaths

With a new Council elected and most candidates committed to ensuring that street level public services are improved it is a good time to report any issues in your street.

We came across this weed infested traffic island build out on Gale Lane today.

Gale Lane 1400 hours 14th May 2015

Gale Lane 1400 hours 14th May 2015

We recommend residents to use the “My Council” app which can be found  by clicking here


More and more residents contacting the York Council as Smarter York “App” fails

Lunched amidst a blaze of publicity 18 months ago an “App”, that was supposed to transform the way that residents communicate with the Council, has flopped.

Council Leaders in London looking for an "App" 2 years ago.

Council Leaders in London looking for an “App” 2 years ago.

The Smarter York mobile phone “App” allowed residents to report an incident – including a photo – straight into the Councils contact handing system. The “App” cost £8000 to develop.

It ran into problems with the Data Protection Act in October of last year

Now figures released by the Council have revealed that only 200 reports were made using the “App” between April and September 2013.

That is only 0.07% of the total number of contacts from York residents.

Last year 321 residents used the system during the equivalent period.

Many of the reports are understood to have been made by Council staff during the course of their normal duties.

During the same 6 month period, other residents used the following channels to contact the Council.

  • Telephone 183,385 (2012 – 140,851)
  • Personal visit 60,841 (36,528)
  • Email: 32,106 (22,034)
  • “Do it on line” (council web site) – 7848 (7778)

The figures show a 37% increase in the number of customers contacting the York Council this year.

This will be deeply worrying for the Council, Leadership who anticipated that changing customer preferences would see a big shift to using electronic means to contact the Council.

Electronic transactions cost a fraction of the expense incurred in dealing with personal callers.

The whole business case for the new Council HQ was based on assumption that heavy investment in state of the art IT facilities would reduce day to day running costs for the Council.

This appears, so far, not to be the case.

The period covered was a time when residents were besieging the Council with complaints about revised bin emptying arrangements and new traffic restrictions in the City centre.

Meanwhile the Smarter York App needs to be upgraded to cover more public service areas.

In that respect at least, it has fallen far behind proprietary web based reporting tools such as “My Council”  and “Fix my Street”.