Although we might not always appreciate it, local and national governments have a huge influence over our levels of satisfaction, happiness and general wellbeing. Service delivery – whether in the transport sector, health service or education system – plays a crucial part in our everyday lives. Of course, as with any system, things can and do go wrong. While it perhaps used to be the case that a citizen needed to know which council department or government ministry to write to and then had to hope that their letter would reach a sympathetic ear, mobile and web technology have transformed the ways in which citizens can now interact with their government. Complaints can now be lodged in minutes, rather than weeks. Real-time analytics and feedback platforms can generate almost instantaneous data on the state of service delivery and the numbers of outstanding complaints or issues to be resolved. Such platforms can also allow organisations and individuals to monitor the performance of one department or council against another.
CEW-IT Uganda, a consortium of six regional and national NGOs working on governance and service delivery, has been trying to address the issue of poor service delivery for the last few years. Their highly interactive radio programme, FixMyCommunity, has used radio (still one of the most accessible forms of technology for many communities and individuals) to reach citizens with concerns about service delivery and to prompt a dialogue with those responsible for addressing such concerns. Yet such an approach has its limitations – follow-up and genuine ongoing conversations between citizens and their governments are hard to track and publish widely. To address these issues and to roll out their work to more communities, CEW-IT have developed a project called the FixMyCommunity Web Platform. Indigo is delighted to be supporting their work with a grant of £16,771. In this project citizens will raise issues either by calling a given radio station or sending an SMS to the CEW-IT short code, email or via social media. These issues will then be aggregated and analysed on the FixMyCommunity online platform. These reports will then be visualized and directed to the dashboards of the respective local governments. The reports will also be used by the media and CEW-IT to engage with government from time to time depending on the issues being generated. It is also expected that the local governments will use the platform to respond to the issues being raised. The platform will then chronologically archive these reports for future use. CEW-IT will be partnering with mySociety to carry out this work.