From the CapeTowner, written by Monique Duval on the 24th February 2011
Do you have problems with potholes, drains, sewerage, waste removal and other municipal problems in your area. CapeTowner reporter Monique Duval spoke to André Stelzner, Director of the City’s Information Systems and Technology about the City’s C3 notification.
Q. What is the C3 Notification System?
A. The C3 system is a simple business process adopted by the City to ensure that all requests for service are recorded and then responded to. The same process is deployed irrespective of the nature of the request. This means that even if it is an account query, reporting a pothole or complaining about your neighbour’s barking dog – and whether you phone the City’s call centre, report it over the counter or write to us – a C3 notification is created. The C3 Notification System is also unique in that it does not only provide a single mechanism for the recording and tracking of all service requests, but it also integrates with other City IT systems such as its Maintenance Management and Geographic Information System (GIS). In a large local authority, it is essential to be able to view, report on and analyse almost all data spatially. This the GIS allows us to do. We can now not only see what needs to be done, but also see where it is on a map, for example, sewer blockages in a suburb or catchment. The pattern on a map is far easier to analyse and direct resources to, than when it is reflected as a table of data. The use of notifications with its integration into the GIS is considered innovative and best practice when it comes to managing the diverse nature and high volumes of works requests that a city receives every day.
Q. How does the system work?
A. It is a computer system, to which more than 5 000 City staff members have access, on which service requests from the public are recorded. These service requests we refer to as notifications. A notification is created every time a service request is received , either by phone, sms, email, over the counter or through written correspondence. These notifications reflect the name of person who has reported the matter – the nature of the incident and its location. From this information the system then knows which department to route the notification to and having marked its location on an electronic map the work can be assigned to field workers or office staff to ensure speedy resolution. Various reports are then available to line management to monitor the performance of the City’s operational staff in responding to these service requests. Over and above our ability to manage the individual incident the City is able to build up a history and monitor trends. These trends help us to be more proactive and also to allocate resources appropriately. The public are encouraged to make use of the system by asking for the notification number when making service requests. This will ensure that we have a record of the event and should they need to follow-up on it, make this process far easier.
Q. When was it first put in place and what were the reasons?
A. The City has been using SAP services since 2003, but identified the need for a consistent, reliable process to record, track and report the complaints and requests from the public. For this reason, the City developed and implemented the C3 Notification system in 2007.
Q. How do residents make /log a notification and how do they track its progress?
A. When residents phone the City’s centralised call centre on 0860 103 089, a notification is created on the C3 system. All possible types of complaints for the various different City departments have been catalogued, which provides a quick and easy way for call centre staff to classify the issue and to direct the complaint through the correct channels. The complainant is then given a reference number, which allows him or her to follow up on the complaint. The notification will be closed as soon as the complaint has been dealt with. This enables the City to measure how long it took to deal with complaints, as an indicator of service delivery success and improvement over time.
Q. How has the system improved the efficiency of the City and its services?
A. The notification process ensures that the City has a consistent record of every service request received from the public. Line managers are then able to monitor demand within their area of responsibility and to performance manage their teams to ensure that matters are dealt with swiftly and effectively. This elapsed time to resolve notifications is a City-wide key performance indicator which is tracked at the highest level and reported on regularly. Furthermore, the C3 system has proved to be extremely useful to ward councillors and Sub-councils. The C3 Notification System gives councillors the power to understand and monitor problems in their wards, as they can log, view and track complaints, follow-up on unresolved complaints on behalf of residents, keep record of how many complaints were received in their wards and what the most common complaints were. This is an excellent tool for councillors to address specific service delivery problems in their wards.
Q. How many C3 notifications have been received since the system was put in place?
A. Currently, on average 70 000 external C3 notifications are created each month. Prior to 2007, there was little or no record of complaints or requests or of where they were located, and analysis was not possible due to there being no central record of public service requests.
Copyright Cape Community Newspapers, part of Independent News and Media.