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Wednesday, 30 July 2014

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Cumbrian council's 'app with a map' aims to combat grot spots

People across Allerdale can report dog mess and fly-tipping from the scene of the ‘grime’ – thanks to technology.

Allerdale app photo
From left, project manager Neil Banks, councillor Phil Tibble, and developer Peter Campbell

The council’s IT department has created an app which uses satellite technology to pinpoint the location a person is contacting them from.

It means the public can file on-the-spot reports without the need for an email address.

The QR system uses codes to report problems, or takes people straight to the council website where an interactive map also identifies clusters of reports so officers can target hotspots.

Anyone who reports a problem can see their complaint ‘pinned’ to the map and even check whether the mess has been cleaned up.

The software is bespoke and the IT team is now planning to share it with other local authorities across the county and further afield.

It is also the only local authority in Cumbria using it, as opposed to customer service phone lines or lengthy online forms. Phil Tibble, Allerdale Council’s executive member for customer services, said it was “brilliantly interactive”.

“You see a map on the screen of your mobile phone or tablet computer, then hit the ‘locate me automatically’ button and report a problem on the spot,” he said. “That means it’s perfect for those who are just visiting too – they don’t have to know road names to report an issue.”

Mr Tibble said they promoted the ‘Council in a Click’ message and encouraged people to report problems online. “This takes that initiative to another level,” he added.

People can also go directly to www.allerdale.gov.uk/report to use the system, or report problems via email at street.scene@allerdale.gov.uk or by calling 01900 702702.

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