FixMyStreet is another service from those excellent people at Mysociety.org. So you’ve got a problem in your neighbourhood that you thought your local council would have dealt with by now. Road drains not clearing? Broken man-hole cover? Industrial waste dumped in your street? Your council may not know about it so this is your opportunity to tell them or chase up an ongoing problem.
All you have to do is enter the postcode, street name or area. You should then see a map showing existing and previous problems.
To report a new problem, click on the location of the problem on the map. A purple flag will appear and then you fill in the boxes: category (drop down menu), details of the problem, upload a photo if available, and email address and telephone number. Then Submit. FixMyStreet will send your report to the council on your behalf. “Simples”!
You can also subscribe to problem alerts. These can be delivered by RSS feeds or emails alerting you to problems within 7.3 km of your post code (the default), or 2, 5,10 or 20 km. Alternatively you can choose to receive all alerts in the area covered by your council or ward.
Information on other MySociety.org projects such as they “They Work For You” (details of your MP and their activities and “What do they Know ” (Freedom of Information) are available at http://www.mysociety.org/projects/
Heavy snow hit us overnight in Caversham and as I write the fluffy white stuff is still falling. From my office window I can see through a gap in the houses opposite the traffic on Briants Avenue and there have been no buses, or indeed any traffic at all. Our local radio stations provide good general information and updates on the weather, roads and public services but #rdg in Twitter is by far the best source of detailed local news. So today I was paying extra attention to the #rdg column in my Tweetdeck and spotted that one of Reading Borough’s councillors, @CllrDaisyBenson, is on Twitter. A couple of tweets later she informed me that three of her Lib Dem colleagues are on Twitter and about the same time I found the CllrTweeps web site – Finding and following the UK’s Tweeting councillors at http://www.cllrtweeps.com/.
The list was started by @CllrTweeps who is @JamesCousins. The project is currently being developed by James Cousins and @DafyddBach. Not surprisingly the wonderful @Liz_Azyan has been involved with the list and is credited with identifying a lot of the councillors.
You can search the list by council, party and “tweeps” – an alphabetical list of tweeting councillors.If you are a tweeting UK councillor and not on the list details of how to add your user name are at http://www.cllrtweeps.com/about/
I discovered Twitterplan via a posting on Liz Azyan’s excellent blog – Twitterplan: The Newest Mashup in UK Local Government via her Twitterstream @liz_azyan .
Twitterplan is a new service that has been set up by Lichfield District Council with help from the City of Lincoln Council and Planning Alerts. It sends a Twitter direct message to you whenever a planning application is submitted in your area. Go to http://www.twitterplan.co.uk/ and follow the instructions on screen.
The service covers 324 local authorities at present and there is a list of participants on the Twitterplan web site. My own council – Reading Borough Council – are included, which surprised me. Reading BC do not seem to be that keen to embrace Web 2.0 technologies and their web site can be a nightmare to navigate. They may be in the list, I thought, but will they actually deliver? A few hours after I had signed up my first two DMs arrived!
I am impressed: click on the link and you are taken direct to the details on the authority’s web site. It beats having to carry out an advanced Google site search on the Reading BC web site and trawling through the local newspaper planning applications.
As people who have attended my search workshops will know, I am a great fan of customised search engines and in particular Google Custom Search Engines. LGSearch is a Google CSE set up by Dave Briggs, an independent social media consultant who works mainly with the public and third sectors, to search just UK public web sites.
The sites are broken down into the following categories:
- Local Government
- Central Government
- Police & Fire
- LG Related
- Social Media
Once you have run your search, you can select which types of sites you want to appear by selecting the appropriate category link.
Further background information is on Dave Briggs’s blog at LGSearch update.
The presentation I gave at ‘Managing Information in the Public Sector – The Future – Relaunching ALGIS’ is now available on Slideshare at http://www.slideshare.net/KarenBlakeman/web-20-in-the-public-sector-presentation and on Authorstream at http://www.authorstream.com/Presentation/karenblakeman-109455-web-2-0-public-sector-laria-algis-uk-lariaweb2-others-misc-ppt-powerpoint/ .
The slides are based on earlier Web 2.0 presentations but I have included examples from local government authorities and public libraries. Apologies to those of you I have used as examples: you may be deluged with enquiries from the seminar participants! There was a lot of interest in what is being done especially by local authorities.
The event was a joint LARIA/ALGIS seminar and held in London at Baden Powell House, London, Tuesday 18th November 2008. All the presentations will be available on the LARIA web site.