Unsociable behaviour and environmental crime continue to plague communities up and down the country. Whether it’s fly-tipping, graffiti, dog fouling, deliberate damage to street furniture, littering, aggressive dogs, drug paraphernalia, bonfires or overgrown gardens harbouring rodents, they all have the potential to undermine community pride and wind up local residents. These problems could be concentrated in a particular area, on or near to a housing estate, in areas surrounding town centres, or close to industrial activities. But wherever they are, it can give the impression that these issues aren’t important and, worse still, the people affected don’t matter.
The problems give rise to frustrations and annoyance that are often directed to elected representatives who, in turn, look to ‘stress bounce’ the problem to the in-tray of officers who are already under pressure, trying to juggle numerous service demands. It is not just housing and environmental health staff who are on the receiving end. Complainants will often vent their anger during community engagement events and at officers dealing with other service matters. Members of neighbourhood policing teams also get dragged into problems they aren’t necessarily equipped or tasked to deal with.
There is an increasing realisation that the potential efficiencies available from improving the way services are delivered – the ‘supply-side’ – are limited and therefore we must now look at the other side of the equation – the ‘demand-side’. There is a need to understand and manage the drivers of demand for services but you can’t hope to manage demand without understanding the circumstances and behaviours that drive demand.
Don’t despair. Technology can help ease your pain. Reportable enables such issues to be easily and quickly reported, with the details directed to the appropriate team for response. At the same time, accurate data can be gathered about service demands. To support the operation of this app, promotional resources are being prepared to improve reporting and the flow of information. These include a suite of poster designs that can be personalised to promote electronic reporting, materials to support specific campaigns, guidance on how app reporting can assist, and shared experiences from existing users. Why not give it a go? Get in touch to find out about a trial of the Reportable app and see if it can make a difference in your area.