April 20, 2022 Update:
The Mayor and his Executive Policy Committee make all decisions related to 311. All Councillors do not have the opportunity to vote on or make amendments or recommendations for additional work to occur – when the report is published. 311 is the sole responsibility of the Mayor and his Executive Policy Committee. April 20, 2022 the Update on 311 Delays report came to the Mayor and Executive Policy. The report highlighted activities occurring, and was received as information. No additional action was requested by the Mayor and his Executive Policy members.
There is no work occurring to ensure the ‘back ends’ talk to each other. A request for service comes in, 311 sends it to the department, and many departments do not have the technology that is compatible to provide updates on the service request back to 311. I’ve tried to make changes for years to improve the service of 311. Until a new Mayor and Council is elected in October 2022, sadly, nothing will change. I am optimistic things will change when a new Mayor is elected.
Thank you Winnipeg Free Press for covering this important issue: Thanks for Calling 311
The City’s 311 system is under pressure with the many calls related to snow, flooding, and other issues. I recommend people EMAIL (email@example.com) vs phoning – it takes little to no time to email, and you will have a record of your request that you can follow up on. Please see the overview on WHY there are wait times:
There are TWO KEY reasons for 311 delays and disconnected information:
1. DELAYS = STAFFING CUTS
- It is the Mayor and Executive Policy Committee’s job to prepare the annual budget and present to all of City Council. They spend months working on the budget.
- Each year for the past four years, they have cut 311 budgets. These cuts have resulted in a reduction of staff. As the CAO recently stated ‘If we don’t have people doing the work, there will be delays.’
- The phones and emails for service requests won’t be answered in a timely manner.
STAFFING CUTS (pg 2-122 Volume 2, Operating & Capital Budget)
2. DISCONNECTED INFORMATION = TECHNOLOGY SOLUTIONS
From a technological perspective, the ‘back ends of many of the departments software system don’t link to each other’ This results in a disconnected flow of information. Often a nonexistent flow of information.
When residents look or call to see if their service request is being addressed – often there is no clear answer.
Solutions cost money, and there has been limited funding allocated to resolve the information flow issue.
MY ACTIONS to IMPROVE 311
311 is the ‘front line – the first connection’ residents have with the City of Winnipeg. I come from a customer service background and it pains me to see the customer service level the City provides to residents.
The operators are great, they are doing very difficult jobs handling calls of frustrated residents. I think half the frustration operators deal with is the wait time incurred trying to make a service request.
In both elections, and daily, it is a top priority of mine to ensure current, timely communications to residents. I provide weekly updates on all my social media platforms, and have one of the most comprehensive, informative ward focused website of all Councillors. I also make myself very accessible to residents by attending many events. Effective communication is important. So is the service provided by 311 – which I am continuing to try and improve.
- worked extensively with Director overseeing 311 – trying to have new technology implemented
- little to no progress as reported in this CBC article
2016 – 2018
- Many meetings with City’s new Chief Innovation Officer, Mr. Legary to identifying issues related to software incompatibility
- SOME solutions were found, but much more work was required.
- I brought forward a motion seeking Operational Improvements to 311 requesting
- Report back within 90 days on:
- All operational improvements made to 311 within the past four years;
- All operational improvements made to 311 that are currently in progress;
- All operational improvements to 311 that have been identified for future consideration.
- Current staffing levels, required staffing levels, and the rate of turnover within the past four years.
- Thereafter, report back to the Executive Policy Committee every six months with an update on the progress of all ongoing projects
- Submit a request for a Council Seminar on the progress of all ongoing projects related to 311 operational improvements.
- The Operational Improvements Report was produced
- It was ‘received as information’ meaning no action on anything.
- Councillor Nason brought forward a motion to address Call Centre Wait Times
- The request for action has been laid over multiple times.
- The report is anticipated back in May 2022.
Churn churn churn and no decision. IMO – this reflects overall City operations under the direction of the current Mayor and Executive Policy Committee.