Local Council Mobile App Lets Residents Report Incidents ‘Live’

Gravesham has become the first council in Britain to launch a mobile phone application for residents to report a range of incidents including graffiti, anti-social behaviour and housing repairs.

The borough joins 20 major US cities, including New York, Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Jose, in using a tailored app for iPhones, Blackberries and Android mobile devices provided by American application developer CitySourced and UK software supplier Northgate Public Services.

The app, which is aptly called Gravesham 24, is free to download from phone app stores. It works using the phone’s camera to photograph the item in question and the phone’s GPS to pinpoint where the user is. A category can be selected and notes added if necessary.

The information automatically appears at the Civic Centre and passed on to the appropriate team to deal with it. The user can check progress on resolving the issue and can also see other reports throughout the borough. There is also an information feed with local news from the council.

Council leader Cllr Mike Snelling said: “This is a superb, easy to use tool which is designed to help provide a swift response to a range of incidents from fly-tipping to missed refuse collections. It will empower residents to report things as they see them and get action.”

The app’s introduction is a collaboration between CitySourced, Northgate Public Services, and the council’s IT, Communications and Customer Services departments along with many departments including Community Safety, Housing, Planning Enforcement, Operations and Environmental Services.

The application is already in use and has been trialled for the past two months. It is said to have “already proved helpful to many people who have taken advantage of it”.

Christian Harris is editor and publisher of BCW. Christian has over 20 years' publishing experience and in that time has contributed to most major IT magazines and Web sites in the UK. He launched BCW in 2009 as he felt there was a need for honest and personal commentary on a wide range of business computing issues. Christian has a BA (Hons) in Publishing from the London College of Communication.