As more and more local councils attempt to move transactional traffic from their costly call centres to online, new solutions to enable members of the public to contact their council online or via their smartphones are springing up on a weekly basis. As anyone who has been involved with a business change project will know, they are time consuming and expensive to implement. So the advent of the Open311 standard has been an absolute gift horse to councils. It is an API that will integrate with almost any CRM system, thus allowing the independent development of applications that enable reporting to the council with almost no business process or system changes internally.
As this map shows, the US is leading the way in using Open311 for developing applications, although there are some pockets of development in the UK. The challenge at Developing Solutions Camp on 25th November to utilise Open311 in building prototypes, will give the opportunity to some budding innovators to become a trailblazers in this field.
What is there to report?
The FixMyTransport website in the UK is for people using public transport to report issues to the carrier company.
The iPhone app Chicago Works in the US is for people to report city issues harming citizens.
Here is a list of all the applications that have been developed so far using Open311. Along with a great community resource here, and the technical specification here, these are some of the tools that might be valuable for developers using Open 311.
There are an increasing number of opportunities for people to report issues to the council. With all the expenditure data now being published by councils, maybe there should be an app to allow people to report unnecessary spending.