Shone Announces Plan for a 311 System That Works

Treaty 1 Territory, Homeland of the Red River Métis, Winnipeg, Manitoba –

Today, mayoral candidate Rick Shone announced his plan to modernize 311 services, outlining his plan to fix wait times and shift to a customer service-oriented approach to the delivery of city services.

“311 is the first point of contact for Winnipeggers when accessing city services,” said Shone. “Throwing more money at 311 without looking at the underlying issues is not a long-term solution. We need to get it right.”

Shone explained that “the City of Winnipeg can use resources more efficiently by upgrading 311 using readily available technology and standard data analysis to improve customer service for residents.”

Shone’s plan would:
Increase the use of data. Data and evidence-based planning would make improving the system less of a guessing game, adding clarity to city-wide decision-making. This would include the targeting of repeated issues, allowing for pre-emptive and/or rapid responses to citizen complaints.
Hire a data analytics specialist within 12 months. This practical step would help city departments uncover data-minded solutions to improve 311 responsiveness.
• Invest in much-needed IT upgrades. Much of Winnipeg’s Information Technology is out of date and in need of modernization. Upgrades are the first step in enhancing a general-purpose customer service portal and standardizing the City of Winnipeg’s website. A component of this would be the eventual creation of an innovative chatbot.
Enhance online forms. Online forms allow residents to report an issue quickly and easily. Completed, easy-to-fill-out requests would then be sent directly to the respective department, reducing the workload of 311 operators.
• Improve working conditions for 311 staff. Building on the recent strategies reported to Council this year, Shone would direct the public service to work with staff and union leadership to improve staff retention. Immediately, this would include improving training through the use of distance learning and allowing operators to terminate calls when faced with abusive language or harassment.
• Eliminate emails. Emails to 311 are time-consuming for both 311 employees and citizens. Consistent with other Canadian municipalities, the city should work towards eliminating the email option, instead directing citizens to online forms to increase efficiency and responsiveness.
• Review progress. Require a semi-annual report to City Council, including performance metrics, a breakdown of top call issues, and steps taken to improve service for customers.

“Other candidates believe that simply increasing funding by 25% annually will solve underlying issues and technology shortfalls,” said Shone. “While funding is an important part of the equation, we need to better by using data more intelligently, upgrading IT systems, improving online forms, and retaining 311 call centre staff, who are the backbone of Winnipeg’s 311 service.”


Approved by the Official Agent for Rick Shone

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