Cultivating Democracy

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Fix My Community

Report Issues to Build a Better Community

Created by MySociety as FixMyStreets

FixMyCommunity Powers Transparency, Participation, and Accountability

Central to NDI’s mission is “making democracy deliver.” At the most fundamental, this comes down to improvements in the lives of everyday citizens. For many, their direct experience with government is the proverbial pothole on their street. Unfortunately, government institutions often don’t have an easy way to identify these frustrating local problems. In many democracies, citizens are often unaware of the achievements of their government and what they do accomplish. Prolonged perceptions of negative performance around service delivery has consistently threatened the viability of democracy.

Effective public service delivery depends on allocating resources to the most critical needs of a community and then deploying them as promised. For many governments, however, there is limited transparency and accountability around service provision. Lacking information on citizen desires and service needs, administrators often have no easy way to determine what provisions to provide or where they are needed. Without outside pressure from citizen input, government employees in charge of service delivery lack the incentives for sorely needed reforms.

FixMyCommunity is based on mySociety's popular crowdsourcing tool FixMyStreet, an award-winning website that makes it easy to report local problems from a computer or smartphone. A site can be based on categorical areas, such as community housing, crime, or trash pickup, or areas with a responsible managing body, such as a municipal area governed by a city council or an elected official’s district. FixMyCommunity then tracks the issue's location and category and sends a report to the department or body responsible for fixing it. The tool doesn’t just send problem reports—FixMyCommunity also makes the reports visible to everyone. Anyone can see past reports, leave updates, or subscribe to alerts. Additional features on the platform foster communication with authorities who are actually fixing the reported problems. Finally, FixMyCommunity creates an atmosphere of civic participation, where citizens can experience a direct pathway for expressing grievances and making inquiries to the local government. 

Why Should I Use FixMyCommunity?

women raising their hands

Citizen to Government Problem Reporting

FixMyCommunity is designed for programs focused on strengthening government institutions in their delivery of public services. In all standard use cases, the government must be a full partner, committed to collecting and acting on the concerns of their citizens. FixMyCommunity is best suited for governments - whether national, provincial or local -  where authorities have the desire and capacity to respond to citizen concerns.

Working with a government entity to improve its ability to collect citizen issues also strengthens the capacity for democracy to deliver for voters. Increased transparency in reports submitted shows other citizens their mutual concerns; the public display of updates creates accountability for government to respond. Aggregated reports can provide illustrative data on the types and locations of problems that citizens are concerned about.

Civil Society Information Collection

FixMyCommunity can be a powerful way of coupling the problems identified by a particular interest group, increasing pressure on the government to address their common needs.

Under certain circumstances government may not have the internal capacity to manage a FixMyCommunity platform, and may instead have a close relationship with a civil society partner who manages the system and provides the problem reports and other analysis to the appropriate government entities. To be of any real use, this still requires a partnership with a government group capable and willing to fix things.

Reporting Government Shortcomings (but be careful!)

Crowdsourcing can be an effective method of tracking government failures or even crimes; one of the most famous is I Paid a Bribe, where Indian citizens have submitted over 40,000 reports of bribery attempts. Given the low trust in government globally, such uses for FixMyCommunity would further undermine political institutions and come with a host of problems of either malicious utilization or reprisals against whistleblowers. Approach this use case with extreme caution.