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San-Francisco: 311 service

09/12/2010

Andy Maimoni: We want to be valuable every day, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Read our interview with Andy Maimoni the Deputy Director of sf311.org and find out how does e-government operates on the level of the biggest American city.

I learned about general information service 311 at the conference Tim O’Reillys’ Gov2Expo. They told me that this is the most effective e-government practices of their type.

So, as always, when I was in San Francisco, I came to see this project. Because I do not trust the words: I love to see it all by myself. Experience is the best weapon.

The «311» idea implementation is fair simple if you understand the essence of the system. Similar projects exist in Russia, but «sf311» is the only example on all conferences.

You dial just one number (311, for you it’s free) and you get all the information on issues related to the authorities.

Most frequent requests — graffiti, trash, licenses. In Russia it will be housing, transportation, passport, citizenship. For such a megalopolis as Moscow the idea of 311 is more than useful and can be implemented with all its pros and cons.

I asked them to show how the system is arranged, had conversation with the staff, watched over their work. All the working process can be real-time monitored over a huge number of monitors that are placed around the office. There is also a differentiation of the common questions and issues relevant to police activities. These people even work in a separate office block.

Why does this simple scheme works? Clear objectives, clear means and … yes, of course, the proximity of Silicon Valley. I asked the question: how do people understand whom do they need to forward the phone-call, how long has it taken to create such a database?

I was told that some internals numbers were allocated for each pool of questions. The numbers are always free and always multichannel. The same thing is in Twitter — there are few staff-members who quickly find the information and send it back to you.

Efficiency is measured by the number of resolved requests.

sf311 part1:

sf311 part2:

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