Like other Conservative Councils, Trafford has for many months published online details of spending with external suppliers. But, they haven't stopped there - they are committed to complete transparency. Trafford has opened up all of its non-personal databases online, in a usable format, for residents to view and use as they see fit. This is provided free of charge, reducing the cost of handling detailed enquiries from the public. The Council was recently named as one of only ten of the 434 authorities described as having ‘truly open’ data on OpenlyLocal.com’s Open Data Scorecard.
Last September, the Council was the first to launch an interactive iPhone application which keeps residents up to date with the latest information, but at the same time allows residents to access services. The function includes a number of features such as 'Report an Issue', where residents can report up to 45 different issues such as a missed bin collection or broken streetlight, 'Find my nearest', which locates amenities such as libraries and parks using GPS signals, news, events, jobs and a postcode driven bin calendar.
Since it launched at the end of September the application has been downloaded more than 2,200 times and will deliver thousands of pounds of savings through lower administration costs (it costs £1.50 less to process an iPhone enquiry compared to telephone contacts).
In February this year, the Council will also be the first to trial the use of 'webchat' as a new and more cost effective means of dealing with resident queries.
On top of this Trafford has been confirmed as the country’s top social media Council in December on online news sites, blogs and social networking sites.
Conservative Deputy Leader, Cllr Alex Williams, said:
"Through openness, transparency and use of online technology, we are determined to ensure our services are as accessible as possible. This will not only improve the service to our residents, but will also save money for the taxpayer by developing tools which represent greater value for money. We are continuing to look at ways of using online tools to deliver even more for less in the years ahead."