Only six months after moving to a new backend platform and launching new functionalities for citizens and institutions, the Citizens (Grajdanite) mobile app reported an increase of more than 37% in the number of alerts submitted to the administration by citizens and over 23% more solved cases. The project was launched in 2015 and Sofia Municipality is partnering in the development of the platform.
For citizens, the changes in the app made it even easier to report directly to those officials at the local administration, who are in charge of solving a certain problem. For institutions, innovations helped to reduce the response time and costs, to provide access to transparent statistics on how many and what kind of alerts were submitted, who worked on them and what the results were.
For the period April – September, following the introduction of the new functionalities, a total of 31 571 citizens from Sofia and the country registered at the platform, and in one of the entirely new sections – submission of a collective alert – the sent messages reached 12 760 (with at least one more user who supported the alert). For the same period, the total number of submitted alerts for case reports and violations were 19 492 (of which 16 844 were related to traffic violations and 2 648 to urban violations). The case reports solved by the institutions totaled 1 109.
Furthermore, the application registered an increase of more than 100% in the submission of urban violation alerts. The team behind the platform plans to further develop this section, although since its launch three years ago, traffic violation alerts remain the most common. In order to develop communication between institutions and citizens, the platform also introduced a functionality requested by the civil authorities themselves, namely a module that enables the relevant units in charge to send notifications on electricity/water outages, street closures, route changes in public transport, etc. Thus, for the first time, institutions are provided with an opportunity to directly inform citizens of expected changes in the urban environment.
‘Citizens’ enables each municipality and its employees to monitor all of the received alerts and to have a direct connection with the alert senders. Thus, the administration has a complete picture of what is happening on the territory of the municipality. The application allows the mayors to monitor the work done by their employees in accurate statistics (number of alerts, status and time for solving) and to maintain a transparent connection with the residents of the respective municipality on the results. The data of the platform and their analysis provide a clearer and more realistic picture of the problems in the area. This enables the mayors and the municipal council to make informed decisions about the future of their municipality and to optimize investments, processes and activities.
According to the statistics of the platform, the Slatina district, part of Sofia Municipality, is among the best examples of cooperation between citizens and institutions. The Slatina district is one of the institutions with the fastest and most efficient reactions. In addition to solving many of the problems, district officials also provide users with regular feedback on their alerts.