Bristol Council

Bristol Council are vastly improving their response times to street issues with asset layers with FixMyStreet Pro

Councils are increasingly understanding the value of flexibility when it comes to service providers. Contracts that lock you into a single provider for many years mean that there’s no opportunity to benefit when technology advances, and disproportionate costs can be charged for implementing the slightest changes.

Bristol Council are well known for being a leading and progressive adopter of digital services, with a particular focus on making sure that all the different parts work well together. Their desire for flexibility was a strong factor in the decision to adopt FixMyStreet Pro at fixmystreet.bristol.gov.uk.

Complete Control

We connected FixMyStreet Pro to Bristol’s own middleware service — a piece of bespoke software they’d created. Using the Open311 standard gave them full control: for example, they can specify which types of issue their systems can accept, and what questions the report-maker is asked — all without incurring any additional development costs from us, no matter how many times they amend or tweak their setup.

This method allowed us to connect everything up to Confirm, Bristol’s highways asset management service: so reports from FixMyStreet Pro and FixMyStreet.com drop right into the workflow; they can be treated like any other internal task, and importantly, the status of each report can be sent back to FixMyStreet automatically.

That all works smoothly — but there’s more. Because Open311 is an open standard, it supports connections from other service providers and makes it easy to add or connect new services as they are adopted.

If Bristol ever decide to replace any aspect of their IT services, they’ll be able to do so with no knock-on effect to FixMyStreet reports. And if they begin to accept reports from a range of providers, or even replace FixMyStreet with a different provider, they can do that too, all with no negative repercussions.

Pinpoint accuracy

Flexibility wasn’t the only plus-point for Bristol, though.They were also pleased to be able to generate more accurate reports, thanks to FixMyStreet’s ability to integrate street asset layers.

If you have assets like trees, streetlights or bins already plotted, you have the option to display them on FixMyStreet, and rather niftily, they’ll only display when relevant to the task in hand.

So, visit the Bristol FixMyStreet service to make a report, select streetlights as the category, and at that point you’ll see the location of each lamp plotted onto the map.

When you select a specific streetlamp, the report is automatically populated with the lamp details, such as the reference number. This means you don’t have to rely on residents’ attempts to describe the exact location; it cuts down on misreporting, and helps to avoid duplicate reports. Bristol’s inspectors report that they are a lot happier with less searching around to do.

Bristol are continuing to adopt this asset layer approach for all kinds of things, from grit bins and gullies to bridges and tunnels. There’s no limit to what can be added, and we’re there to help them as they further extend this approach.

Found on GCloud

Bristol found us on GCloud, the Digital Marketplace, and were the first metropolitan unitary authority to install FixMyStreet Pro. Since then many more councils are taking advantage of the flexibility and accuracy that FixMyStreet Pro offers.

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