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Metal inspection covers on New Kent Road

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Monday 13 August 2012 3.06pm
Hello,

I just wanted to clear up a few possible misconceptions about FixMyStreet. In case that seems a bit eerily stalker-y, I should just say that someone emailed me to share the link to this discussion and pointed out that there may have been a few misunderstandings over how we work.

We're an independent website that covers the whole of the UK. We don't manage problem reports ourselves, as such: we send our users' reports to the street fault reporting email address at the relevant council, while also putting a copy online. In that sense, we're just a conduit, sending issues to the same place they'd go if people reported them via council channels: if problems are not fixed, then it's to do with the responsiveness of that particular council.

Why do we do this? Well, because it can be tricky to know who contact when you see an issue (especially in areas which have two-tier councils). With FMS, you only have to put in your postcode and our back-end knows where to send your report.

Although there is the option to remain anonymous on the website, all reporters are asked to provide an email address, and this is supplied to the council so that they can follow up with any questions that they need to. Graham, if you are subscribing to an area, you won't see the names where people have chosen to submit anonymously. We do have the option to send reports to a cc address (these would include full details) and if this is something that you think would be useful for you, I'd urge you to contact [email protected] to arrange it.

There are a few reasons why we put reports online: Truthmonkey mentions the fact that we hope it cuts down on duplicate reports. Additionally, we hope it gives people a sense of what's being fixed, and what's an ongoing problem, in their own community. FMS allows others to comment on problems, and some pages have become interesting discussions. For a councillor, I wonder if this sort of insight into the feelings and frustrations of a community should actually be rather useful.

If Graham or anyone else has any questions, do feel free to ask them here, or drop us a line on the email address I mentioned above.
Monday 13 August 2012 8.34pm
Last week I read in a local paper that I only do 5 pieces of casework in two months, now I'm having a conversation with an anonymous administrator about his/her website on SE1.

FixMyStreet.com, please email me, and we can talk at length about my experience, and how best to marry with local authorities and their agents.
Thanks
[office@grahamneale.com]
Monday 13 August 2012 9.03pm
Graham, surely if councils, or TFL in Jans case respond and sort problems out you won't need to even know about it? I mean isn't it better for your time to be for people who aren't getting the right response. If TFL tell Jan they're not going to do anything that's when she'll need you. Or am I not getting it?
Monday 13 August 2012 9.55pm
Beetroot - yes, and no, Perhaps it is possible to completely remove Cllrs from the street fixing equation, but then they would not be familiar with local issues and needs, making it difficult to request amenities, and the resources for those amenities, resulting in an overall loss of strategy.
In this case those with iPhones would get their problems sorted, but digilliterates (sorry) would go without.
At present there appears to be a grey area in which people can report via FixMyStreet but no one in the local authority is assigned responsibility for making sure the problem is resolved, and does not recur. Consequently no one realises the pot holes and drains (the FixMyStreet favourites) are regularly cropping up, and need a long term solution.
There is an ideology of Community Politics which demands an elected official is close to the desires of the electorate, driving decisions that are local and sustainable. I am interested in how FixMyStreet can enable those local decisions.
Bit convoluted - sorry.
Monday 13 August 2012 10.18pm
Anyone, iphone or not can make a phonecall though.

I do take your other point about long term solutions though.
Until you mentioned them, I never even thought to complain about pot holes.
Tuesday 14 August 2012 12.46pm
graham wrote:
no one in the local authority is assigned responsibility for making sure the problem is resolved

Is this true? FixMyStreet is no different to me emailing or calling the council to report a problem - it just means when I'm out and about I don't need to check which council or other body is responsible and look up their details.

Surely every report made to a council is followed-up?

I don't think it's fair to dismiss FixMyStreet's welcome interaction on this site as an anonymous administrator. FMS is not a commercial site with a vested interest, it's run by a charity My Society who provide a number of useful tools.

I think at issue here is that while you may be a very diligent councillor who follows up on emails about problems, many aren't. That inconsistency is something FMS is there to solve. I think it would be better to embrace that (for example by taking-up their offer that you could be copied to reports so they aren't anonymous to you) rather than attack it.
Tuesday 14 August 2012 3.24pm
We've exchanged emails, and I'm hoping to have a long conversation with the peeps at FMS to help.
I've a suspicion that not all reports are followed up, which bothers me.
Tuesday 14 August 2012 4.32pm
graham wrote:
I've a suspicion that not all reports are followed up, which bothers me.
I'd speak to your councillor, if I were you.

...if you press it, they will come.
Wednesday 15 August 2012 2.35pm
A vehicle pulled up about half an hour ago, two guys with yellow vest got out seemed to be looking toward the road, all of five minutes if they were contractors for tfl assessing the situation, if thats the case a bit more waiting time would help decide whether a busy road would cause residents immense noise from the metal covers...
Thursday 16 August 2012 1.55pm
Saw two young lady surveyor types with tripods,troglodites thingys dont know what they are called! Walking right near the metal covers, oh good I thought, I asked them if they were working on behalf of tfl......they said we dont know who we are working for! obviously interest in their job was not top priority...but no they were not assessing the incessant volume..:-(
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