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
A report to a meeting taking place next week reveals that a long running dispute about the Councils Customer Relations Management (CRM) system has been settled.
The wrangle, with a software supplier, has prevented the development and full roll out of the “Report It” and “My Account” systems
The implementation of the “Oracle Right Now” based system was supposed to have improved “social media consolidation and proactive management and integration across a number of back office systems facilitating automation, work allocation and monitoring”.
The Council says that phase 1 of work on the new system will be complete in about 7 months time.
This contrasts sharply with the assurances given to a scrutiny meeting in March 2016 when the proportion of customers forecast to access the Council “on line” (mainly for Council Tax and Benefit interactions) was expected to increase from 5% at March 2016, to 43% in March 2017 and to as much as 80% by March 2020.
Report more “Star Wars” than enlightening
It is far cheaper for the Council to address issues raised “on line” rather than through other options (personal visits, by telephone or Email)
No updates on these project forecasts have been provided in the latest report nor is there any comment on the financial costs to the Authority of the delays.
Council leaders have been announcing the imminent arrival of the new IT system for over 4 years. The Councils Executive last extolled its virtues at a meeting which took place on 11th February 2016
NB. The Council has told us that a glitch, which prevented some images of issues being uploaded onto their full litter bin reporting system, has been fixed.
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.
Just a few days after we revealed that the Councils IT systems were at best “flaky”, there has been official confirmation of the scale of the problems
A report to the Council’s Audit Committee includes a “Red Warning” about the new digital system (CRM) on its risk register.
The project ran into serious trouble earlier in the year when a “contractual issue” ruled out “going live” on many customer management features.
Now the position has worsened with no progress on resolving the issue being reported. The Council is pinning its hopes on an “independent review” of the outstanding issues but no timescales have been agreed,
The IT change is hugely expensive for taxpayers. It is a project first mooted in 2011 but since then progress has been agonisingly slow. As a result the Council has been criticised for not buying proven “off the shelf” solutions; instead they preferred to “go it alone”.
The Executive member with responsibility for the project (Chris Steward) quit in January, leaving Council Leader David Carr to pick up the pieces.
It seems that he has had little more success in moving the project forward.