Reporting rate soars

Article image - Reporting rate soars

City of Karratha, Western Australia (WA), has developed an innovative reporting tool that has increased residents’ rate of reporting issues online by 17 times during its first calendar year.

Since introducing Report It in June 2017, the number of annual online reports has soared from 36 in 2016 to 622 in 2018.

Mayor Peter Long said Council identified the need for an online reporting system in 2016 through their Safer Communities Partnership with WA Police and government and industry stakeholders, which aims to prevent crime and antisocial behaviour.

“Instead of reporting crime directly to local police, residents were reporting crime to the City’s Facebook page.

“They were also using Facebook to report Council related issues, such as damaged equipment, litter and graffiti instead of using forms on the City’s website, so Council decided to develop an online reporting tool to streamline the process and improve efficiency.”

Council considered off-the-shelf products but found apps were limited because they required the user to install the program. 

Apps had limited flexibility to direct users’ reports to the relevant external authority, such as WA Police for crime reports.

Council decided to develop its own online portal, Report It, which is accessible to residents 24/7 through the City’s website. 

Report It has an easy-to-use interface that enables users to report a specific issue to the relevant department within three clicks. 

Users can upload images, video and audio files and geotag their location using GPS coordinates. 

Report It functions like an app by saving shortcuts to home screens so it is mobile-friendly.

The City worked with WA Police and other agencies to direct reports not handled by local government to the relevant agency, such as the Housing Authority, Horizon Power, Main Roads WA, Water Corporation and Cleanaway.

After submitting a report, users receive a summary and reference number. 

The relevant Council department is alerted, such as rangers for parking infringements, maintenance for broken lighting and waste for litter.

The Report It project took six months and was designed and developed for integration with the City’s website. 

In addition to improving efficiency, Report It was a cost-effective measure for Council, with off-the-shelf products charging high annual subscription fees.