Wiltshire councillor apologises over failings of new app
3:01pm Friday 17th January 2014 in By Julie Armstrong, Senior reporter
Highways councillor Philip Whitehead apologised for the MyWiltshire app’s failings after it came under fire at a council meeting.
Wiltshire councillors criticised the smartphone app at Chippenham’s Area Board last week. The free to download app lets people report issues such as potholes, dog mess, graffiti, litter and street lighting direct to Wiltshire Council’s highway repairs section.
Users take a picture of the problem, which registers the location through a global positioning system, logs it with a highways repair team and adds it to their work schedule.
But Coun Whitehead, highways contract portfolio holder, was told that nothing was being done when issues were logged.
Linda Packard, Wiltshire councillor for Chippenham Lowden and Rowden, said she had tried logging a problem on the app.
She said: “It disappears into the ether and nothing happens. Why are we using it if it isn’t going to deliver at the moment?”
Clarence, the phoneline for those without a smartphone, was also attacked.
Desna Allen, councillor for Chippenham Queens and Sheldon, said: “Regarding communication historically being a problem in Wiltshire Council, people say they’ve reported something to Clarence and not heard anything back.”
Coun Whitehead admitted communication needed to be worked on and he had problems himself using the app to report a loose manhole cover, with it informing him the case was closed when it had actually been passed on to a third party.
He told the meeting: “They released it in beta form three months earlier than expected. It’s being tested by the public. In six or 12 months time it will be significantly improved. My apologies for the times it fell through but unless we do this we won’t get an improvement.”
He also wants to make the log-in online shorter for ease of use.
The MyWiltshire app launched four months ago but, despite repeated requests, the council was unable to tell the Gazette how many people had downloaded it or how many complaints had been logged. The MyWiltshire app is available at http://tinyurl.com/omtf2ow
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