Report on public service reports in York

click to view

A report has been published which analyses the  reports made by members of the public using the “Fix My Street” app.  The University of Sterling research report relates issue volumes to “areas of deprivation”.

The York Council decided some 5 years ago to develop its own “app” for public service issue reporting (“Report it”). However the system has never worked properly lacking the flexibility and features available in commercial systems. Only litter and street lighting reports produce an instance reference number and “job completed” notifications.

Despite promises of an early upgrade to meet modern standards none has been forthcoming.

Clearly many residents still opt for “Fix My Street” and other systems to report issues. This means that someone at the Council has to manually re-key the reports into its ageing IT system.

This is the kind of inefficiency that the Council needs to tackle if it is to invest more in actually dealing with issues *on the street”

The Stirling research – not surprisingly – reveals that road and footpath reports are by far the greatest concern of York residents. 

Council revives survey into internet use

The York Council are asking residents to tell them about how communications systems could be improved.

They say that at present many residents use the most expensive (to process) channels to communicate with the Council.

They want residents to do more “on line

Given the lack of functionality – and unreliability – of the current “report it” system we think that the surveys timing is a but rich. They surely would have been wiser to implement and sustain improvements, before asking for feedback.

However, if anyone does have a view, they can express them by clicking this link.

Meanwhile we’ve tested the “Report It” system, now that it has been “fixed”, by reporting three issues.

Full litter bin on Beagle Ridge Drive

Plastic mats dumped on Walker Drive

Detritus on Bradley Drive snicket

Meanwhile Andrew Waller reports that the street light on Otterwood Lane has been repaired

Otterwood Lane street light repaired

Andrew has also reported problems with contaminated, missing or empty salt bins

Askham Lane salt bin almost empty

Front Street library salt bin missing

Grove Terrace litter in salt bin

Gremlins breeding in Council IT department?

It is not only the Council planning portal that is suffering problems.

The much vaunted – but never quite delivering – “do it online” reporting system has broken down again.

As we reported earlier in the year, anyone trying to report issues such as full litter bins will find it difficult to upload a photo of the problem. The Council actually encourages residents to provide an image of the issue being reported (to provide clarity on location and timing).

The Council site currently rejects most images offered. In turn this prevents the issue being uploaded to the Council’s Customer Relationship Management system. It is a repetition of a problem which existed when the system was first launched (and which seemed to have been fixed about a year ago)

Officials at the Council promised a fix several weeks ago but the system is still not working. Litter bin locations are, however, now shown on the site but the image upload problem persists.

Quite why the  Council simply didn’t purchase “off the shelf” the well tried Fix my Street system when they had the chance five years ago remains a mystery.

“On line” reporting is by far the cheapest channel of communication with the Council. It is quicker and avoids unnecessary manual intervention. It should be the preferred method of contact for routine problems. 

The Council pointedly refuses to publish performance statistics on the time taken to deal with issues reported via Email to the Customer Centre (the obvious 24/7 alternative to “on line” reporting) . These are thought to be in excess of 3 days. That is simply not good enough if the alternative “on line” systems are faulty.

Rumours persist that the Councils reporting system, which was developed “in house”, has been subject to an ongoing intellectual property rights wrangle.This continues to hinder its development and roll out.

 

West York – The week in photos

Cllr Sue Hunter is encouraging residents to adopt local verges and amenity area and plant flowers. Grants may be available from the local Ward Committee for bulbs and containers

Lowfields verge flowers

Lowfields verge flowers

Windsor Garth

Windsor Garth

The Ward committee will be balloting residents shortly on their priorities for using the delegated budget. Among ideas put forward by residents are plans to lop trees and overgrown hedges.

Next Ward committee newsletter will include ballot paper

Next Ward committee newsletter will include ballot paper

Overgrown trees on Kingsthore reported by Andrew Waller

Overgrown trees on Kingsthorpe reported by Andrew Waller

More overgrown trees this time on Grange Lane

More overgrown trees this time on Grange Lane

Trustees have now signed a formal lease for the Foxwood Community Centre. It means that the centre will be largely free from Council control but will have to raise most of its income from lettings. It is now run entirely by volunteers.

Community Centre lease signing

Cllr Stephen Fenton Dringhouses ward (extreme left*) and Cllr Sheena Jackson Westfield Ward (extreme right*) and Trustees sign the Community Centre lease on Wednesday. (*not politically!)

Meanwhile Sheena has been out and about in the Foxwood area reporting issues for attention

Obstructed path

Obstructed path

In the Cornlands Road area, while out delivering the latest Focus newsletter, we spotted several issues requiring attention. These included  offensive graffiti on the Tithe Close snicket. Issues have been reported using  https://www.fixmystreet.com/

We'll be keeping an eye on drainage and gutters channel as tree begin to shed their leaves. There is an almost continual problem in St Stephens Road

We’ll be keeping an eye on drainage and gutter channels as trees begin to shed their leaves. There is an almost continual problem in St Stephens Square

It's some times difficult to know whether an item has been dumped or left out for the scrap merchant

It’s some times difficult to know whether an item has been dumped or left out for the scrap merchant

Andrew Waller has commenced a survey of the Askham Lane/Grange Lane area

Survey launched this weekend

Survey launched this weekend

Grange Lane field entrance 2

One of the issues being probed is whether residents would like to see kissing gates installed on the accesses to the local parks and open areas. At present there are problems with motorcyclists riding near where children play

Updates on issues reported to York Council

JRFH have come back to us quickly to confirm that the damaged grass areas on Wenham Road (below) form part of the  adopted public highway. We have suggested that they be hard-surfaced as part of the Ward Committee programme later this year. JRFH confirm that they are a little behind with  general green area maintenance activities this summer but hope to catch up with garden inspections, hedge cutting etc shortly.

Damaged verges in Wenham Road need bitmacing.

Damaged verges in Wenham Road need bitmacing.

Meanwhile there has been an increase in the amount of flytipping in the area. This has been a trend since the Beckfield Lane recycling centre was closed in 2012. This is disappointing as Westfield is one of the few parts of the City to get regular visits from mobile skips The next ones are due in Rogers Court and on Bramham Road this Saturday

Bath and seat fly tipped on Foxwood Lane near ravine. CCTV footage will eb scrutinised to see if the culprits can be identified. The on the spot fine for fly tipping was recently raised to £400.

Bath and seat fly tipped on Foxwood Lane near ravine. CCTV footage will be scrutinised to see if the culprits can be identified. The “on the spot” fine for fly tipping was recently raised to £400.

Cllr Andrew Waller has also been out and about tackling issues raised by residents. These are some he found and reported

Fly tipping in Gladstone Street back lane

Fly tipping in Gladstone Street back lane

Rubbish in Barkston Avenue

Rubbish in Barkston Avenue

Overgrown hedge in Chapelfields

Overgrown hedge in Chapelfields

Cornlands Road overgrown hedge

Cornlands Road overgrown hedge

Cornlands Road overgrown hedge

Cornlands Road overgrown hedge

You can report issues to the Council using the following web site  https://www.fixmystreet.com/

Action taken in Lowfields area

We’ve been out and about in the Lowfields area today. Although public services are generally better than they were a year ago there are still some issues.

It appears that the Council is not routinely cleaning cul do sacs and difficult to access areas like garage forecourts.

Below are some issues that we have reported using @fixmystreet

Detritus on carriageway in Harold Court. We have also reported the faded street sign

Detritus on carriageway in Harold Court. We have also reported the faded street sign

The rear entrance to the former Lowfields school on Tudor Road needs weeds clearing and detritus sweeping up. The cul de sac is much improved since the paths were resurfaced last year

The rear entrance to the former Lowfields school on Tudor Road needs weeds clearing and detritus sweeping up. The cul de sac is much improved since the paths were resurfaced last year

The area around the entrance to the Lowfields School site on Dijon Avenue needs a good clean up.

The area around the entrance to the Lowfields School site on Dijon Avenue needs a good clean up.

The Dijon Avenue garage area has been untidy for over a year. There have been problems with dumping while potentially hazardous thorn hedges are overgrowing the area.

The Dijon Avenue garage area has been untidy for over a year. There have been problems with dumping while potentially hazardous thorn hedges are overgrowing the area.

Action taken on local issues

We’ve been out and about dealing with issues in the Westfield area over the weekend. Generally local services are better then they were 12 months ago with streets tidier, verges trim and most gutters cleaner.

We’ve reported the following issues using the “FixMyStreet” app.

About 2 inches of detritus in one of the gutters in St Stephens Sq. Seems to have been missed by the sweepers (there was a similar problem in Hammerton Close)

About 2 inches of detritus in one of the gutters in St Stephens Sq. Seems to have been missed by the sweepers (there was a similar problem in Hammerton Close)

Detritus on the Tedder Road park footpath

Detritus on the Tedder Road park footpath

Weeds in Tithe Close. We've found several areas where weedkiller has either not been applied or has provided to be ineffective

Weeds in Tithe Close. We’ve found several areas where weed-killer has either not been applied or it has proved to be ineffective

In response to a Freedom of Information request the Council has confirmed the service standards it will be applying this summer.

The standard grass cutting frequency for adopted highways areas is now 10 per year (reduced from 14 a couple of years ago). This can – depending on the weather – result in the grass growing quite high.

Adopted streets include grassed amenity areas such as Kingsthorpe and Otterwood Lane.

The response to the request also revealed that some areas of land owned by the Council – including the area behind the library on Front Street – receive no routine maintenance at all.

The Council currently does not provide details of its service level agreements on its web site.

Customer Contracts – where the Council tells residents what level of service quality to expect –  also fell into disuse several years ago

 

York Council using hi tech equipment to improve service stadards?

New road sweeper

New road sweeper

Weed killing by quad bike

Weed killing by quad bike

After a poor few years there are signs that some of the street level public services provided by the York Council are beginning to improve.

Last year saw parts of the City engulfed in weeds.

This year a quad bike is already zipping round the area applying weed killer to paths and gutters.

Blocked drainage gulley in Hammerton Close

Blocked drainage gulley in Hammerton Close

Litter and detritus is also another major problem as these photos show.

We hope that the new specialist street sweeping machines (above left) will soon make an impact…and that the Council has thought through how it will cleanse difficult to access areas.

We hope that the York Council will also make its street cleansing – and weed control – timetables available on their web site. Taxpayers should know how often they can expect their streets to be swept

Detritus at Grange Lane cycle path entrance

Detritus at Grange Lane cycle path entrance

Detritus in Chapelfields Road garage area

Detritus in Chapelfields Road garage area

Litter in Walton Place snicket

Litter in Walton Place snicket

We continue to report any issues that we see using the excellent “Fix my Street” web site

Green Lane garage area gets clean up

After many months of complaining, we were pleased to see that the little Green Lane garage area was tidied up a few weeks ago.
Little Green Lane garage area cleaned

Little Green Lane garage area cleaned

Unfortunately, since the clean up, some builders waste has been left in the area and we are still waiting to hear when the housing department plan to resurface the access road and forecourt.

Elsewhere other long standing issues also remain to be resolved.

Material dumped in the Dijon Avenue garage area 6 months ago is still there and perimeter weeds – having fallen back during the winter – will start to grow  again shortly

Dijon Ave dumping

Dijon Ave dumping

Dijon Avenue weeds

Dijon Avenue weeds

……and another black mark for local housing officials who refuse to allow residents access to public noticeboards in the Kingsway area (below). They have been inaccessible for over 2 years now, forcing charities and community groups to post notices on the outside glass of the boards.

It’s an issue that could be easily solved by giving local Councillors a set of keys for the frames.

Unused noticeboards in Kingsway area

Unused noticeboards in Kingsway area

We report all issues for the Council’s attention using the “fix my street” https://www.fixmystreet.com/ web site