With New App, Seattle Can Now Find It, Fix It
Garbage on the sidewalk? Someone dumped a couch in front of your building? Graffiti? Potholes? Seattleites, consider this your lucky day! The City of Seattle has an app that lets you report issues impacting local quality of life. Find It, Fix It is the City of Seattle’s top full-service request mobile app.
Although the Find It, Fix It app was first launched in 2013, the ability to log city service requests online has been available for more than a decade. The Find It, Fix It program got its start through the work of one of Seattle’s hardest working departments, the Customer Service Bureau, which assists Seattleites in accessing city services. The amazing staff of this little-known department works tirelessly to ensure that Seattle residents, visitors, and small businesses have a channel to communicate directly with the City of Seattle on the many issues that impact their lives.
The Find it, Fix it mobile app is simple and works almost identically to 311 services already in use in cities like San Francisco and New York.
Small businesses are on the front lines of the issues that affect quality of life in any city. Our Townsquared Seattle City Manager, Melissa Peterman, was so impressed with how much the app will help our small business members that she joined the Find it, Fix it walk around Seattle’s Crown Hill neighborhood. Residents and business owners alike joined the Customer Service Bureau team and Seattle Mayor Ed Murray for a community walk on Saturday, November 19, to see firsthand how effective this tool can be in the hands of Seattleites.
Seattle Mayor Ed Murray is such a proponent of responsive city services that not only does he participate in these community walks across Seattle year-round. For every community he walks, he allocates a $5,000 community grant to the neighborhood, which residents can apply for. This generous program is a partnership with Cities of Service, “a national nonprofit organization that supports mayors and city chief executives in their efforts to engage local communities and residents, identify challenges, and solve problems together.”
With the Find it, Fix it mobile app, users have an easy way to report everything from a streetlight being out to an abandoned vehicle. Small business owners are likely to be particularly interested in the ability to report graffiti, illegal dumping, damaged signs, or ask about a parking concern. You can attach photos and tag a location of the problem you’re reporting. Doing so makes it easier for the city employee handling the issue to locate and resolve the problem quickly. Once you’ve reported the problem, you get a tracking number. Then, through the app’s My Issues feature, you can track the City’s progress addressing the issue…in real time!
Specifically, the Find it, Fix it mobile app:
- Provides information about and referrals to appropriate city government departments
- Assists individuals in obtaining city services in a fair and efficient manner
- Researches and explains city ordinances, policies, and procedure
- Provides a neutral forum for filing a complaint or opinion about a City department
- Conducts an impartial investigation of your allegations of unfairness by a City department and recommends appropriate action and/or changes in policy to City departments or the Mayor.
- Provides an alternate forum for customers to report concerns about police conduct (Concerns are documented and filed the Office of Professional Accountability (OPA) Investigation Section for its review and follow-up.)
- Mediates conflicts between an individual and a City department to find a mutual resolution.
However, there are limitations to what a mobile app can do. The folks over at the Customer Service Bureau do not:
- Handle complaints about elected officials or their staff
- Handle complaints outside City government (e.g., King County, Washington state, or the federal government)
- Handle complaints about private businesses or nonprofit agencies
- Have the authority to require City departments to take action or change policy (The Customer Service Bureau can recommend changes in City department policy or rules.)
So, if you’ve got a gripe with your Seattle Council Member, the Find it, Fix it app won’t be your tool of choice. Instead, you’ll want to reach out directly to your elected officials by locating their contact.
There you have it, Seattle. Welcome to the 21st century of citizen activism. You have a formidable tool in your pocket that helps you and the hard-working folks at the Customer Service Bureau work hand-in-hand to keep the emerald city sparkling.