Do you have a complaint about the Baton Rouge Police Department? What about a suggestion for your local library?
If you’re dissatisfied with a local government service or want to give accolades to an employee who went above and beyond, there’s an app for that.
East Baton Rouge Parish Mayor-President Kip Holden announced on Monday the launch of the city’s participation with Expresit, described as “a real-time Web and smartphone application designed to gather feedback about experiences between the public and the city-parish programs or services and recognize employees for positive interactions.”
But the Expresit app is not to be confused with the city-parish’s 311 Call Center, which residents can use to request service. The app is meant to be an outlet where residents can lodge complaints or give praise to the city.
“It shows our continuation of engaging more with the public but using digital means to do so,” said Eric Romero, the city-parish’s director of information services.
The app is free and available on iPhones and Android smartphones, as well as tablets and Web browsers. It can be downloaded from the iTunes App Store or the Google Play Store. The app is currently used by mostly private corporations but is gradually being introduced to municipal governments. It encourages both positive and negative feedback.
When you launch the app and choose the “City of Baton Rouge,” visitors will be allowed to pick from a variety of services, including the airport, animal control, public works, public safety, City Court, the library and the mayor’s administration.
Many of those tabs drill down into even more specific departments. Then the app gives the user a place to type in the name of a person the user would like to recognize and rate their experience and service as “good” or “not so good.” The user will be given an opportunity to provide commentary that can be publicly displayed on the app or can be confidential.
Once residents enter feedback, it will be displayed in real time on dashboards that city-parish department heads will monitor. The feedback will be assembled into a weekly summary report that will go to each of the department heads, as well as the Mayor’s Office, according to Romero.
“We certainly didn’t want to put a system out there where the submissions go into black holes,” Romero said.
Baton Rouge leaders have been working with the app company for about two months.
Romero said the app has been a success in Albany, Oregon, where it has helped city administrators gather both positive and negative feedback from residents.
“This new Expresit system will help empower those in our community to have a voice when it comes to their experiences with services we provide to them — whether that’s a resident who wants to share suggestions about improving service for next time, or a member of our city-parish workforce who feels recognized for his or her hard work and dedication to quality service,” Holden said in a statement.