• Posted On: September 09, 2014

Government workers, both elected and hired are obligated to clearly communicate with citizens. Unfortunately, this isn’t always what happens, and it’s often an issue that involves utilizing sub-par technology.

According to the GSDRC Applied Knowledge Services, the functions of government communications lie primarily within three areas – informing, advocating/persuading for policies and reforms and engaging citizens. When government effectively communicates, citizens are more involved and more likely to participate in building a better community.

There are incentives to be found when governments and the community planning director communicate clearly with their citizens, and governmental departments don’t always realize this. Whether it’s a lack of funding to put better communication technology and practices in place or a lack of a willingness to share information – the cost for leaving effective communication out of the strategy is an uninformed public that is less likely to get behind positive reforms that the city requires to achieve progress.

There is a lack of effective communication in developing communities where the position of community planning director often doesn’t exist. However, even in progressive communities in the U.S. we find evidence of poor communication processes that can be fixed with little effort. Leaders in Riverside, CA, noticed an issue with their requests for information from citizens and did something about it. They recently launched a program to contend with their communication efforts. City employees developed “Engage Riverside,” which is a portal that gives citizens easy access to public documents.

The process involved creating a silo for the data, which had been spread throughout departments making it difficult to track down. The city wanted to be more transparent and develop a community planning partnership. They became innovative and acted and now have more transparency and happier citizens throughout the community.

It’s not uncommon for municipalities to spend countless hours tracking down information for citizens who have made formal requests. Unfortunately, citizens have to wait far longer than they believe is necessary for this information to get back to them. In most cases, it’s not that the city employee wants to withhold information; they’re just burdened with manual processes that don’t allow for quick retrieval and sharing of the information. One of the most powerful tools a community planning director can have is software that allows citizens an easier application process to request information and for city employees to quickly track down the data and deliver it.

What municipalities need is request tracking software that captures, routes and manages all forms of requests. Using a web interface is the most convenient way to achieve this. Comcate has delivered on this product and has connected with many municipalities and local governments to boost the community satisfaction ratings by providing more transparency and better customer service. Comcate works with communities to build out software that works for all of their individual needs. Contact us today and find out how our solutions can improve your ability to communicate more effectively with your citizens.

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