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Freedom of Information Request

Barnet Problem Tool

Received: 17 March 2021

The TFL Streetcare web facility at https://streetcare.tfl.gov.uk/ ("TFL Problem Tool") works well. It loads quickly, does not require users to waste time registering account, and it is possible to notify TFL of a problem in less than a minute. This is consistent with modern technology and public expectation for a website used regulars by many Londoners to help keep our city in good shape.

In contrast the Barnet Council 'Report A Problem' web tool ("Barnet Problem Tool") suffers from many drawbacks. It requires the unnecessary registration of personal user information prior to reporting a single piece of graffiti and is powered by outdated technology which takes a very long time to reload each page and several minutes to submit a single problem. Furthermore, it is impossible to see if a problem has already been reported by someone else, or whether it has been acknowledged by the Council and is planned to be fixed. There are other advantages that the TFL Problem Tool has over the Barnet Problem Tool which are too numerour to list here. There are many problems in the borough of Barnet and so there is a pressing need for people to be able to notify these to the council efficiently which is not possible with the current Barnet system.

It is therefore of public interest to understand why Barnet Council are unable to replicate the success of the TFL Problem Tool. What lessons can be learned and what is it about the TFL solution that needs to be replicated by Barnet Council?

It should be obvious that this request is being made to both organisations in this transparent manner so that information can be shared to benefit of Londoners, and for the purposes of working out how to save taxpayer money and at the same time deliver better public services. This is clearly in the public interest.

REQUESTS TO BARNET COUNCIL:

1. Please summarise who created the Barnet Problem Tool, when they did this, how much it cost (to the extent this is known or can be easily estimated, either financially, or by other metric such as developer hours). Please identify if the developer(s) were employed internally by Barnet Council, by another public sector entity, by a private contractor, etc, and name them. If it was developed by Barnet council's outsourced function run by a subsidiary of Capita please state the name of the relevant company. Please identify if the same, or any other developer is entrusted with maintaining the Barnet Problem Tool to keep it working well, and explain details of who does this (if different from the original creator of the tool).

2. If the Barnet Problem Tool makes use of any standard or readily available platforms / tools / APIs as part of its implementation please identify what these are (so that it may be better understood how to implement improvements to the system).

3. Please summarise the server arrangements for the Barnet Problem Tool (since this appears to be inadequately resourced).
(a) Is this run on a server, or multiple servers machines?
(b) Are these owned by Barnet Council, a private company (if so state which), and is there involvement from a cloud service provider such as AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Provider, or other (and state which)?
(c) Where are they located?
(d) Are their any Service Level Agreement / Key Performance Indicator provisions applicable to the performance of the Barnet Problem Tool that mandate any particular response time (e.g. updating a page in less than 1 second during normal load, or ability to submit a form in less than 1 minute)?

4. Please provide contact details (name, role, email address

Outcome / Documents

  • Response (all information to be supplied) - application/pdf - Download