Tuesday, July 5, 2011 - By Emma - No comments

Accountability for All

SeeClickFix has helped revolutionize the way citizens communicate with local government. Our growing roster of government clients have all taken a huge step forward by implementing our open, transparent platform and choosing to publicly document their actions (or the lack thereof). In doing so, governments using SeeClickFix have a pretty excellent motivation for consistently communicating with citizens and getting non-emergency issues fixed fast: accountability.

Elected officials don't want the "crowdsouced finger" pointed their way, but is the accountability that comes from public information only applicable for motivating government to act? A recent post by Terra Curtis on The Living Labs Global Mobility Report, SeeClickFix and Accountability, touches upon the importance of accountability for everyone involved in the SeeClickFix ecosystem.

When performing a survey of web and mobile apps that could be useful for bicycle and pedestrian planning, I identified SeeClickFix as a promising tool.  Not only did it encourage citizen participation but it made available to the public the resulting data.  This could be valuable information to the planner trying to identify hotspots for capital improvements.  However, one shortcoming I found was that no one was being held accountable for following up on all the issues.
Over 50% of issues reported online to SeeClickFix have been resolved offline in communities throughout the world. Now imagine how many issues would be fixed if all citizens felt as accountable as their local government for ensuring problems in their community are solved. While much of the article is focused on government accountability, ("It wouldn’t reflect very nicely on the city to have 1,000 outstanding issues and none of them actually addressed,"), she closed with some great questions about how accountability among our users can help more issues get from "open" to "closed".
What else could provide the needed accountability?  What is SeeClickFix published response rates for all cities, providing a letter grade of A for the most tech-savvy, responsive cities (the carrot) and a letter grade F for unresponsive cities (the stick)?  What if the citizen who creates (or follows) an issue gets pinged when the issue has gone unsolved for a designated amount of time?  What if SeeClickFixers get extra “Civic Points” for getting several users to sign on to a campaign to solve a particularly stale issue?
While SeeClickFix users can already view our Top Performing Cities or receive reminders about issues they have reported, this article has us thinking about what else we can do. How can we promote accountability on SeeClickFix? What can we do to help citizens and local governments share the responsibility of raising the fix rate to well over 50%? What more can we do to empower our users online to take action in their offline community? Do you have an idea about how SeeClickFix can accomplish this? Comment here, shoot us an email or send a tweet to @seeclickfix with your ideas on promoting accountability for all!


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