By unwiring the connections between citizens and government agencies, public sector agencies can transform not just reporting, but relationships.
In my previous blog post, I spoke about how, by adding its own citizens to its sensor network, the city of Rio helped to target its crews during Carnival.
On the way to the Carnival, no doubt many revellers passed and ignored potholes, malfunctioning street lights, graffiti – maybe even a water leak. We all see these breakdowns, major or minor. However, reporting them is often a complex process, involving finding a number, waiting on hold and negotiating an automated call center. The inconvenience to the individual of reporting a problem may be greater than the problem itself.
And, since there is rarely feedback once the problem is reported, the citizen has no sense of whether their call made a difference.
Traditional reporting methods can actually dissuade citizens from making reports. However, without them a public body cannot target its resources effectively – citizens are the most universal and intelligent monitoring system available.
Making mobile work
We are seeing the revolution in mobile computing disrupt traditional ways of working across every industry, and the solution to this problem lies in that disruption.
Forward-looking public sector players are developing and promoting applications that citizens can use to report problems in seconds, the moment they see them. Mobile phones can communicate detail on the kind of problem, the location of the problem and even a picture of the problem with a few taps of the screen.
These apps – based around technologies such as SAP’s Citizen Connect – shrink the gap between seeing an issue and reporting it to seconds.
The second, equally important part of unwiring public service is interconnection with workers. The report can go straight into the allocation system, and then be sent out immediately to mobile-enabled public workers. Nearby workers can be redirected to a pressing issue – one where public safety is at risk, or where rapid prevention could prevent a larger problem.
Involving citizens, one fixed problem at a time
Along with the pressure to maintain service levels in the face of budgetary pressure, many public sector entities complain of the difficulty of involving citizens, or giving them a sense of how their taxes are being spent.
Mobile issue reporting and work management systems are starting to bridge that gap. The agency gets accurate, timely information. The citizen is kept informed of how their report is being handled, and learns that helping their public workers helps them to enjoy better service.