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Highways Fault Reporting

On February 6th 2012, a new highways fault reporting system went live.  However, it quickly became clear to the service and not least our customers that the new online system was flawed.  Many customers found the system slow and confusing and that it had lost some previous features that that users found useful.  Furthermore, due to a number of instances when the system was unavailable for use, customer perception significantly reduced and complaints rose sharply.

Hertfordshire County Council officers have been working with our external service providers  to address the issues as they arose and have continuously sought to make improvements of which many were prompted by customers and Members.

Whilst the system is improving and there is evidence of growing customer usage (on average 5600 faults are logged each month with more than half logged online), but clearly a more significant set of changes are required.

These will be delivered using a two phase approach: firstly from late January 2013 a tactical solution will be deployed that will mean the highway fault reporting system is to be managed locally in Hertfordshire and not via the main server in Birmingham; secondly a new operating platform will be deployed in the summer of 2013 that will make all HCC online systems (not just those relating to highways) more robust and less likely to falter.

All issues, historic and emerging, are logged and monitored on a weekly basis.  However, no significant changes will be introduced until late January 2013 to stabilise the system as it is now and to permit a planned re-launch that will deliver an online service that is customer friendly, easy to use and responsive to the needs of residents and businesses. We intend to test the system before going live with members and customers.

Below is a list of key changes that will be introduced from January 2013 as well as some trends for the proportion and volume of faults reported to Highways and by what means.

Summary of changes from late January 2013

  •  The speed and visibility of the operating System will be smoother with less time delays in pages refreshing.
  • The System will be compatible with all modern browsers, including those for smartphone and tablet technology (eg Android 2.2+, Blackberry 6+, iOS 3+, Chrome, Firefox, Safari 3+, IE7+, Dojo based).
  • Users will not be shown the “sign in” screen but will be able to “log in” to their account using a link on the front page
  • We will reintroduce the “top 5” faults as we had in the previous system
  • Visitors to the webpage will be able to search locations by postcode
  • Users who wish to leave a mobile phone number (and whose sixth digit is ‘0’) will be able to enter phone numbers details on the system
  • Existing open faults will be shown on the map for the location chosen
  • Existing problems with winter maintenance faults will be resolved
  • Faults can be reported on the system without having to use the map
  • If an asset (street light/bollards) is missing the user can log without the map and the missing asset will be flagged up to appropriate team so that the map can be rectified
  • Users can ‘subscribe’ to an existing fault and receive the same updates as the person who originally logged it
  • A warning message will be displayed if the user selects a location outside Hertfordshire.  Similarly there will be greater definition of the Hertfordshire border on the map
  • A guidance/video demonstration (opening in a new window) will be provided on the portal so that users can learn how to use fault reporting
  • There will be the introduction of a “message board” at the top of the page so that current messages about highway service/fault reporting issues can be displayed and will be populated by editors rather than Serco
  • If a user opts to log another fault, their contact details from the previous fault will be auto-filled thereby improving the customer journey
  • Users will be able to re-report/chase/update faults depending on the status of the fault at that time.  Users trying to chase up faults that are still within the service level agreement will be advised that the fault is being processed within agreed timeframe and will not be able to chase up.
  • Closed faults will be able to be re-reported if the hazard still exists or if the user is not satisfied with the resolution provided.


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