City of Amherst, NS

Amherst is the largest town in Cumberland County, Nova Scotia with a population of 9,500 and growing. As the Province’s historic border town, Amherst is the first community to welcome visitors to Nova Scotia traveling from New Brunswick via the Trans Canada Highway. The town is centrally located to both the Bay of Fundy, home to the world’s highest tides, and the Northumberland Shore where several warm-water ocean beaches await.

An internal process review highlighted gaps with citizen issue management

In 2018, Amherst’s Senior Management Team began an Internal Review Process. A key outcome of this was a recognition of the need to better track and understand the types of issues the municipality was receiving from its citizens. Existing email-driven processes were working to a point, but the flow of information was inconsistent and often unreliable; senior management simply weren’t aware of items within the municipality needing attention because there was no proper tracking mechanism in place. Some of the questions they were asking themselves were:

  1. What should service level targets be for various types of issues, and how well is the municipality doing against these?
  2. How can we better inform decisions to optimize operational processes?
  3. How can we simplify and streamline communications with both the public and council?
  4. How can we get a simple geographical view in order to quickly identify any potential hotspots within the community  – for example, is there an area with a disproportionate number of potholes?

AccessE11 offered a centralized view at an affordable price

The CAO of Amherst attended the CAMA Conference in Fredericton, NB where he was introduced to the AccessE11 Citizen Issue Management Software. He quickly realized that this could be a turnkey, data-centric solution for addressing the needs identified during the review process.

After a couple of demonstrations of the software and speaking to other municipalities who were currently using it, the senior management team all agreed that this could indeed be of benefit to the municipality to achieve their goals.

All departments began using the platform. With the AccessE11 software in place, they are no longer just communicating with email. The dashboard allows managers visibility they have never had before. They are able to see the list of all issues that staff are working on and keep on top of what is due. Field staff are using the AccessE11 mobile app to manage and report on tasks in real time.

With visibility into the data, the senior management team is now able to have informed discussions regarding service capacity timelines and performance management, allowing them to set appropriate service standards, implement better tracking, and demonstrate the great work being done by staff. Moreover, monthly management reporting to council is now streamlined and more data-centric.

With AccessE11, the Town of Amherst now has the right data available to make the most informed decisions for both staff and citizens, and to continue serving the community with the impeccable service its citizens have come to know and love.

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