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    Fix my street or else: using the internet to voice local public service concerns

    King, S. and Brown, Paul (2007) Fix my street or else: using the internet to voice local public service concerns. In: Janowski, T. and Pardo, T. (eds.) Proceedings of the 1st International Conference on Theory and Practice of Electronic Governance. ACM International Conference Proceeding Series 232. Association for Computing Machinery, pp. 72-80. ISBN 9781595938220.

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    UK local governments have invested heavily in ICT in recent years to improve public service delivery. Most local governments now operate contact centres and websites to exchange information and transactions with citizens. But the aspirations of central government go much further - to service "transformation" - and the expectation that citizens and communities will be actively engaged in service design and delivery. In parallel with this new political agenda, technological developments are enabling users to create their own online fora, and to generate their own content. These fora often address public service areas, such as healthcare, crime and education. This paper presents an evaluation of one of the first citizen-driven systems for local public service improvement in the UK: (FMS). The system enables citizens to report, view or discuss local problems such as graffiti, fly tipping, broken paving slabs or street lighting, and to track their resolution by the local government concerned. The system went live in February 2007. FMS has attracted over 3000 problem reports and updates in its first six months, and is viewed very favourably by the citizens surveyed here. But many problems reported to the site remain "unfixed" with status "unknown". Local government officers voice a number of concerns: the site duplicates their own websites; they cannot report fixes directly to ensure the information is up-to-date; nor can they manage user expectations regarding service performance. And the site has no "sense of virtual community" (SOVC) [1], with individuals posting in isolation without the support of fellow citizens to amplify their voices or to contribute to problem resolution. The paper concludes by combining the concept of SOVC, factors identified as encouraging growth in online communities, and the example of a successful London community website, BRAIN, to suggest possible future developments for FMS and for public service fora in general.


    Item Type: Book Section
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Science > School of Computing and Mathematical Sciences
    Depositing User: Sarah Hall
    Date Deposited: 23 Feb 2021 18:13
    Last Modified: 09 Aug 2023 12:50


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