The availability of communication channels for raising public issues to elected official are far and few between for many citizens around the world. Government institutions often don’t have an easy way to identify these frustrating local problems and in many democracies, citizens are often unaware of the achievements of their government and what they’re able to accomplish. Prolonged perceptions of negative performance around service delivery has consistently threatened the viability of democracy, which is a problem our newest DemTool, FixMyCommunity, seeks to address.
FixMyCommunity is based on mySociety's popular crowdsourcing tool FixMyStreet, an award-winning website that makes it easy to report local problems from a computer or smartphone. A site can be based on categorical areas, such as community housing, crime, or trash pickup, or areas with a responsible managing body, such as a municipal area governed by a city council or an elected official’s district. FixMyCommunity then tracks the issue's location and category and sends a report to the department or body responsible for fixing it.
However, the tool doesn’t just send problem reports. FixMyCommunity also makes the reports publicly visible.Anyone can see past reports, leave updates or subscribe to alerts. The end user, often the general public, can log problems by writing a brief description, taking a photo if helpful, and dropping a pin on a map to specify the exact location of the issue. Next, citizens can select the most relevant responder to address the issue before they submit their report, which will auto-publish on the public site. The selected government entitiy will receive the full report and begin to take action, which includes making updates to the issue as progress moves forward.
An additional feature of FixMyCommunity is that it fosters communication with authorities who are actually fixing the reported problems, creating an atmosphere of civic participation, where citizens can experience a direct pathway for expressing grievances and making inquiries to the local government. The application is fully customizable to meet the needs of the populace and administering entity using it and the interface can be tailored to a specific geographic location, like a city, postal code, or specific neighborhood.
By promoting citizen empowerment and strengthening government accountability, FixMyCommunity seeks to power political participation and transparency in public institutions. Watch our team introduce FixMyCommunity and the rest of the DemTools on December 9 on our livestream!