Today I will be having a discussion with some other local authorities about Highways Fault Reporting.
Fault Reporting is a transaction between a citizen and a local authority which is essentially a request for a service. That could include clearing debris in a street, fixing a streetlight, filling a pothole. These requests vary. It extends to requests for whole roads to be resurfaced. We are unlikely to fulfill all requests such as these- but we'll go out to fix hazardous potholes.
There is a level of expectation management needed. Third-party websites fail to do this. If you walk around a one-mile stretch near where you live, chances are that you will find some defects in the roads. Some may be potholes. Some maybe cracks or areas of rough surfacing. Citizens can report these easily but cash-strapped authorities respond in terms of priority and hazard.
If I do a transaction for road tax, it will take my money and I will get a virtual tax disc. For non-financial This creates a bit of uncertainty. Fault reporting could be considered a way of formalising and managing Highways service requests at scale for the benefit of both citizen and Highway authority.
Authorities should see the formal results as a rich data set to be mined and interrogated for insight.
In Herts, we use roads with multiple defects to form candidate sites for Highway Locality Budget spending, as well as feeding into Asset Management Plans.
top eleven tips for fault reporting:
- Make your pages SEO-optimised.
- Allow citizens to select the location and have the system capture the co-ordinates
- Ensure that this can be passed through to different systems- your core line-of-business system is critical
- Ensure that your systems log faults against the correct assets so you can manage your assets and spot trends
- Ensure that issues are visible to customer-facing staff (through CRM or web)
- Make the system do the work- don't ask if something is hazardous, but ask the right questions in order to assess. Graffiti is a good example- if it is offensive it is a priority fault, if not it becomes a low priority.
- Track what people do and iterate regularly
- Give people free text boxes
- Give reference numbers by email
- Make it easy for citizens to report multiple faults in one session
- Look at your data as often as possible- it is a rich source of insight. Cross-reference the data with other datasets