Budget cuts holding Philadelphia’s 311 system back

    Philadelphia’s highly-touted 311 call in number was supposed to revolutionize the way citizens interacted with city government. It was supposed end – being passed around from agency to agency – and get results faster.
    One year in, a new study from The Pew Charitable Trusts’ Philadelphia Research Initiative shows mixed results.

    Philadelphia’s highly-touted 311 call in number was supposed to revolutionize the way citizens interact with city government.

    One year in, a new study released today by The Pew Charitable Trusts’ Philadelphia Research Initiative shows mixed results.

    The details from WHYY’s Elizabeth Fiedler.

    [audio:100302LF311.mp3]

    The Pew Study shows that Philadelphia’s 311 contact system has made it easier for residents to get information about city government, and has done it by spending less than other cities.

    But the system also mishandled thousands of service requests, and nearly one quarter of all service requests were not completed in the promised time frame.

    Thomas Ginsberg is the author of the report.

    Ginsberg: It is hard to pin down exactly where the problem occurred in the system as it exists today.  But certainly the budget cuts in 2008 which prevented the city from buying the software that it needed was part of the problem.

    Ginsberg says 311 could be more successful if the city invests more money in better technology and a campaign to get out the word to Philadelphia residents.

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