Municipality of Meaford, ON
Meaford is a municipality in Grey County, Ontario, Canada. In addition to the town of Meaford itself, the municipality also includes the communities of Annan, Balaclava, Bognor, Centreville, Leith, and Woodford.
Building the Strategic Plan
Like many municipalities, Meaford was having difficulty keeping track of the issues brought to them by their residents. When a citizen contacted them with a concern, service staff would send an email to the team required to deal with the issue. No further tracking was available and management assumed that it was addressed; this lead to some issues falling through the cracks. If a resident followed up or if staff contacted the citizen regarding the issue, there was no ability to capture each interaction and any future requests relied on people’s memory or scraping through emails to report on status.
In 2019 Meaford’s senior staff and Council created a Council Strategic Priorities Plan. One of the objectives in this plan was to implement a Citizen Service Request Management System in 2020 which included a performance tracking mechanism to monitor the effectiveness of service delivery through regular reports to Council.
Searching for the Right Out-of-the-box Solution
Matt Smith, the Director of Community Services, began investigating how they could track and mange their citizen issues with some key objectives in mind. The system would need to:
- be simple enough to allow all users to be comfortable with it,
- keep records of how many issues they were dealing with and how quickly these issues were being responded to,
- provide a mechanism to communicate information better with council and with citizens,
- offer similar functionality available to their larger peers at a price point that fit within their budget.
He started his investigation by looking at a number of the industry leading generic CRM software platforms but discovered that they did not understand the specific needs of a municipality and, as a result, would require either pricey add-on modules or significant customizations. With annual fees often exceeding $50,000 it was clear this type of system was not the solution for Meaford.
After viewing one of the joint webinars offered with the Ontario Municipal Learning Institute he felt that the AccessE11 Citizen Issue Tracking platform seemed to have what they were looking for out-of-the-box. The AccessE11 sales team provided personalized demonstrations to many of the staff that would be using the platform and there was general consensus that this was a system worth moving ahead with.
Getting Started and Growing Usage
The technical on-boarding and initial staff training was easy and effective. After two short sessions, staff were feeling confident; the hands-on approach ensured staff were comfortable and familiar with the platform prior to it going live. As the System Manager, Matt quickly came up to speed and was able to configure the software to Meaford’s needs and train additional staff members himself.
While the original intent was to use AccessE11 for just citizen issues, the system expanded quickly into other areas. Because of its broad utility, it was soon adopted across the entire organization and they are now using it to track and manage their internal issues for IT Services, Facilities and Fleet Management. This was unexpected but extremely beneficial and has saved time and money.
“With its adoption, we saved more than the annual license fees in saved staff effort in the first 4 months”.
Operations staff love using the mobile app, which has eliminated the need to physically go back to the office to update issues. The inbound channels have made it easy to forward issues received by email and have cases automatically created.
AccessE11 has allowed Meaford to keep a list of issues in one place. Managers love that they have a bird’s eye view into the issues within their departments and frontline staff think it’s wonderful to be able to easily and quickly access the information residents are looking for. Using AccessE11 they are able to close the loop and keep staff and citizens informed and up to date on what is happening within the municipality of Meaford.
“Looking at the system now, we have about 76 open cases, but we have over 1700 closed over the past 6 months … I am pretty happy with that”
It keeps everyone on task, makes tracking effort easier and allows for one-click reporting on issues within the municipality. The online webform is being adopted by residents and allowing them to easily bring their issues to the municipality.