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"We need to apply two different sets of disciplines (in both senses), in two separate domains:
*An approach to the customer experience – both offline and online elements – which is flexible and responsive and which maximises its exposure to customer intelligence in order to do that
*An approach to the supporting processes which is robust, consistent and correctly applies the full set of rules"

Yes. The problem is how to orchestrate several kinds of work at multiple scales and dimensions simultaneously. Narrowing discussion to just one scale and dimension may be interesting but never really engages with the whole, much knottier cultural and technical problem.

Humble observation would suggest that very few make good conductors of orchestras while everyone in their own opinion is great with their own trumpet!

The genius of Tom Steiberg, apart from his uncanny knack of managing to transform government on the smell of an oily rag, and still have oil left over, is his decision to put the radical power of transparency to work in disarmingly simple and effective ways.

The only reason FixMyStreet is powerful is because it makes the transaction of pointing out a problem available for all to see. Putting the notice of a problem on a website simply and completely changes the rules of the game. Of course, the local council can continue to be incompetent and unresponsive (and it needn't be a local council, it strikes me - why can't the site be linked to a series of private of NGO/non-profit organisations whose job it is to fix the problem?)But when you incompentence, laziness, intransigence can't be hidden by a private and opaque exchange of letters or the frustration of a thousand unanswered phone calls, the game has changed.

I agree, by the way, with the observation that what matters to people is getting the problem fixed, not reporting it. I wonder too, though, whether part of the value inherent in a FixMyStreet type of experience lies in the more or less explicit sense of connectedness and solidarity you get when you engage with a process that clearly enjoys the support and participation of others in a very transparent (or favourite word of the day) way.

There is an interesting perversity here, at least in the short term. A council which ignores FMS altogether will probably be fine - the incentive to post problems (apart from a tiny minority of 2.0 geeks) is the hope of resolution. If there is no resolution, what is the point of posting a problem. But if a council does start responding so that there is at least some perceived chance of FMS achieving an outcome, expectations and potentially popularity will go up too. There is a current problem a couple of streets from where I live. It was raised in June last year. The latest update was a couple of weeks ago:

"I have had 26 different promises of dates for action. since 23/7 Nothing has happened except further burglaries due to condition of wall. Council time spent by at least 11 officials must outweigh cost of just getting on and actually doing the job. Hard to imagine a less efficient process."

None of that stops FMS being an entirely good thing, of course. But that's precisely the point, and does underline still more clearly that both ends of the problem need to be fixed if we are actually going to get greater public value.

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