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Feedback from my mini e-democracy survey

Let me relieve you of your tenterhooks!
I’ve received some interesting feedback from  some pollsters who took the time to leave their views on the  question I posed, inspired by the local issue reporting (eg broken street light, fly tipping) site FixMyStreet.
The opinions varied from pole to pole, pun intended. Tim Green says: “I think it’s sad that non-profits have to make improved interfaces for councils to get them to a point where they’re usable, but also recognise that it’s important that it should be possible for non-profits to do so – so that new ideas can be more easily created by lots of people.

“I’d hope that the experience of these non-profits will feed back to the councils either through co-operation with external sites, or by directly improving their own sites by copying features.”

And Anthony Cartmell, a web designer, says: “As well as usability issues, non-profit feeds also provide a useful service in that a single site can be used to report issues to any council, and without needing to know about council boundaries. I’d like to see common interchange formats for this sort of information, but that doesn’t seem likely in the near future. For example, it would be most useful for reporting road hazards to have access to the National Streets Gazetteer, so that we can talk about roads in a consistent and well-defined manner. But the NSG is highly protected by licensing issues, and cannot be used outside councils and organisations who have a right to dig up our roads 😦 So sites like FillThatHole can’t tell the council exactly which road (we give them accurate grid references, but most councils seem to base their hazard databases on the NSG, and can’t handle grid references at all!).”

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Interestingly, the poll spurred a councillor to thrash out his views on the keyboard. Cllr Ian Eiloart, LibDem councillor for Lewes Disctrict Council says “It’s unfortunate that many local authorities have neither the expertise, nor the resource to develop really good solutions for – actually – almost any customer facing web sites.  It’s great that non-profits have developed a single solution, that works not just across different levels of LA, but also for the whole country.

When I approached officers in my LA about working with planningalerts.com, they commented that the problems with Postcodes made it impossible for them. It turns out they were quite right, so I’m really pleased that postcodes are to be opened up. That’ll make it much easier for non-profits to work with LAs to (a) produce great solutions that are sustainable, and (b) cut LA costs.”

Great to receive this feedback.

IT’S NOT TOO LATE TO HAVE YOUR SAY! Go to: http://answers.polldaddy.com/poll/2320662/

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