The new community reporting project – SMS Voices – aims to promote ongoing conversation between citizens and local government, and to support councils to respond more effectively to people’s concerns.
The newly trained volunteers are using their mobile phones to submit short but informative SMS (text message) news reports to their local councillors, who have also received training as part of the pilot.
Each ‘micro-report’ will address matters affecting people in nine participating wards on issues relating to gender, youth, justice and security, governance and access to essential services (including health and education).
In reply, the councillors will send an SMS responding to the concerns raised by the report and giving feedback on how the issue will be resolved. The SMS dialogue can then continue, if the reporter wishes.
This feedback loop between citizens and local government is based on web technology developed by a UK communication rights organisation, Radar.
SMS Voices gives councillors a direct and transparent means of communicating their work, while enabling the community reporters – and ENCISS – to monitor the progress and impact of change at a local level.
The reports are being sent and stored through an online system, enabling accountable and open dialogue. View updates on the reporters’ activities by clicking on the interactive map below.