Reading Borough Council is inviting a group of local residents to help trial a free new 'app' which will allow people to report things like litter, graffiti or flytipping direct to the Council whilst they are out and about.
The new app called 'Love Clean Reading' is a quick and easy way for residents to help the Council keep their local neighbourhood clean by taking photos of litter, fly tipping, dog mess or graffiti they come across. All they have to do is take a picture and then use the downloaded app on their smartphone or tablet to send it directly to the Council's Steertcare Team.
The Streetcare Team will then send the member of public confirmation of receipt and - when it has been attended to - a photograph of the cleaned up area.
Last year's 'We Need to Talk' public consultation highlighted the great importance people in Reading placed on clean environments. The Council will this week be writing to the people who last year completed a 'We Need to Talk' questionnaire last year, who have supported their local Neighbourhood Action Group in the past and Reading Councillors, to help trial the 'app' over a six month period.
The idea is to gather any public feedback from the trial, improve it where necessary and then consider opening it up all other Reading residents to use.
Thanks to GPS technology, the 'Love Clean Reading' app is able to identify the exact location of the problem and alerts the relevant team at Reading Borough Council. There is no need for the person to dig around for a telephone number or make a phone call as all the information the council needs is contained in the report.
In some cases that would mean Streetcare officers clearing up the mess, before taking a photo of that work and posting it on the website at http://loveclean.reading.gov.
Paul Gittings, Reading's Lead Councillor for Environment and Climate Change, said: 'At a time when so many of us carry around these smart phones or tablets, it makes sense to use that existing resource and instant reporting facility to our advantage.
'When you think around 1,500 of the 25,000 phonecalls calls made to Reading Borough Council's call centre every month are to do with things like graffiti, fly-tipping, abandoned vehicles, this 'app' is an extra reporting mechanism for local residents. Where possible the Streetcare Team will take swift action and where it cannot, we will say why.
'Ultimately this is about making Reading a better place to live. I'm really looking forward to seeing the results of the trial and, if it proves to be a success, making it a permanent service for local residents to make use of.'
The 'Love Clean Streets' app, which was originally pioneered at Lewisham Council, in partnership with Keep Britain Tidy, back in 2007 and research showed it helps to cut the processing time of a report by up to 87% and are far more accurate than those received by phone. Complaints about graffiti in Lewisham, South London, fell by more than 30% in the first two years of the app being used, with customer satisfaction with the Council's street cleaning services increasing at the same time. It is now used by local authorities across the capital.