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.
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”.