311 responds to online reports as stop gap measure

Philadelphia’s 311 service is exploring new digital platforms to engage residents.

See Click Fix is a web and smart-phone service that allows you report a pothole, drug den or heap of garbage and post it on the Internet. Neighbors can chime in, maybe government responds, and there’s a public, documented trail of the case.311 Director Rosetta Carrington Lue noticed the service was gaining popularity.

“I did some investigation and actually found that constituents and citizens were using this application to report issues that they weren’t necessairly reporting to the city,” she says. The city is now the top local user of See Click Fix, and has responded to thousands of reports. But as of now, the city doesn’t actively promote the site. Lue says her team is working on its own, similar platforms.”So once we have our own application, we’ll start saying, ‘OK, you can now go on the 311 website and enter your request.’ So, the See Click Fix appliation was more of a stop gap measurement while we worked on the product that was more customized for the city of Philadephia.”

See Click Fix founder and CEO Ben Berkowitz says the many users have already proved his site is effective, and says he hopes the city will sign up for “full integration,” which he claims would streamline the reporting process at a fraction of the cost of building a custom Web platform.

“It’s been cool to see the fourth-largest city in the United States manage all of these service requests with a $40 license,” he says. “If fully integrated, it is substantially less expensive for the city to take requests through the Web than it is through the person who picks up the phone.”Lue says for now, the city is focusing on investing on its own site that would give Philadelphia options it doesn’t have now.

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