IACC APP Lab – Fix my street

This time we had a closer look at the fix my street website. Fix my street was developed by UK charity mySociety. If you do not know mySociety yet – then check them out. They have two main missions: the first is to be a charitable project which builds websites that give people simple, tangible benefits in the civic and community aspects of their lives, the second is to teach the public and voluntary sectors, through demonstration, how to use the internet most efficiently to improve lives. So now that you have gotten excited about them – we would like to introduce you to fix my street. Fix my street is a very straight forward portal – if you discover a problem on your street like graffiti, broking paving labs or street lighting you can report it through this website. It is as simple as it can be – you just enter your postcode, locate the the problem on a map, describe the problem and then once you have completed all of this they’ll send it to the council on your behalf. Later you will be able to check wether the problem has been fixed through the website. And the best thing is – the code for the website is available in open source format so that people in other country can adapt it to their region. Countries that have already adapted the idea are

Could you imagine fix my stereet in your country?

 

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By the way – you might want to check out mySociety’s other great projects like FixMyTransport, TheyWorkForYou, FixMyStreet, WhatDoTheyKnow, WriteToThem, HearFromYourMP, Mapumental or other projects

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  1. Lashanda

    Hi DaveIt’s an interesting idea and one that shluod work but there is a single decisive omission in the code of the argument politics. If the regions/sub/authority is a system then it is not as a coded system would be with rules and functions that execute as programmed (whether badly or correctly). To extend the metaphor it is rather all of those things with a large unpredictable variable playing an equal role in the overall process so that the result is unknowable and can only be predicted on the basis of probability and is often unknowable. This is the limit of bureaucracy and in this context it is emphasised. At the most basic level the political utility of transparency is missing from this model. It’s like saying that people really want the truth. But that’s not the truth, is it? It shluod be and would be if we were playing to how we would like to be, but that’s not how we are. The political risk would be too high and sooner or later (probably sooner), someone would use it for political gain (see banks, phone hacking and MP’s expenses for reference).I’ve spent 15yrs in the public sector in the UK and rarely seen anything like what you describe (i.e. hacker philosophy) work for long. The public sector works because of a few inspirational and dedicated people in key roles giving life to processes and hope to others through the integrity of their work. If that could be changed then maybe it would work. But then it would be a very different kind of democracy.There might be something in that.Thanks

  2. mySociety

    Many thanks for the mention!

    Just to clarify, while several of the sites on your list may have been *inspired* by the UK FixMyStreet site, the resulting site have not all been built (or were not entirely built) on our open source code. In many cases, the developers built their own version from scratch.

    As it happens, we’ve recently compiled our own list of sites using the FixMyStreet Platform, here.

    For reasons of ‘why reinvent the wheel?’ we see more benefits for developers who pick up the code and run with it, than for those who write their own. This year we’re actively working on making it as simple as possible to do that. So anyone who is thinking of building a FixMyStreet in their own country should visit http://diy.mysociety.org where they’ll find lots of support.

    • 15iaccAdmin

      Hi,

      thanks for the comment. I think this is a really great example of sharing experience and code for those who are interested in replicating a already well working idea. Thanks for clarifying that some of the platforms haven’t been build on the basis of your code – really important to mention.

      Mara
      on behalf of IACC team

    • Libby

      To clarify, I agree with the prilnipce. I’m totally onboard with the concept and have been pushing for Open Source/Open Data approaches (with some success). But we live with an adversarial political system where skulduggery and misrepresentation are tools of the trade. Agreed, Justin that sufficient will on behalf of the public does indeed align political will (see: France) but how often does this happen? Is it a workable day-to-day approach to concepts like Total Place’? Agreed it would work well for technical and service delivery systems but everything is political at a certain level and with the introduction of elected Chief Constables even the political character of the police will be made overt. I guess what I mean is it works for some paradigms but not for others.