A simple guide to service requests

2016-11-10 06:01
Pictured is a pothole seen in Brackenfell.   PHOTO: STEHAN SCHOEMAN

Pictured is a pothole seen in Brackenfell. PHOTO: STEHAN SCHOEMAN

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Potholes, burst pipes, broken streetlights and stolen wheelie bins are just some of the daily irritations faced by many Capetonians. However, thanks to a German software system, all these can be fixed timeously by the municipality.

We have all heard the terms “service requests” or “C3 notifications” at some point, but what do they actually mean and what do they have to do with the potholes in your road?

In this week’s edition of Municipal Matters, TygerBurger talks to Xanthea Limberg, the City’s Mayco member for corporate services and compliance, to find out more.

A SAP C3 notification is a service request, or a request for work to be done.

Limberg says C3s are no longer referred to as such, but are called service requests.

“The service-request system is central to managing service delivery in the City using the service management process. The service request notification system has excellent tracking and reporting capabilities. The SAP service-request notification is the most commonly used type of notification in the City.”

Where it all started

According to a report written by Emma Louise Powell of the City of Cape Town, SAP is a German-owned brand of large-scale software that computerises business processes to help with the management of customer relationships and specific business operations within both public and private sector organisations.

The City began rolling out SAP in 2000 and has saved money by using this system to manage the municipality’s various online processes.

Following the formation of the UniCity in 2000 in which 38 municipalities were consolidated into one metropolitan municipality, now known as the City of Cape Town, the City was faced with the overwhelming task of consolidating all 38 respective computer systems into one single computerised management system.

Preparation and system development started in 2000 and the system went live in September 2003.

Consulting firm Accenture was contracted to implement the system and make it manageable, and also to train local SAP managers to ensure the smooth future management of the system.

During the previous financial year, Limberg says, the City received 1 050 491 service requests.

The City uses about 900 different complaint types. Some of the top 10 requests are blocked sewers, no power, water management devices, no water supply and broken streetlights.

According to the latest statistics, the City received 110 531 service requests for blocked sewers, 94 154 for no power and 41 148 for no water or water management devices.

“There are about 900 different complaint types, but generally the system is used for any service delivery requests. For example, requests relating to account enquiries, refuse collection, illegal dumping, water leaks, sewer blockages, streetlights that are not working, potholes and damaged roads.”

Tracking progress

Limberg says the major benefit of using the system is the strong tracking and reporting capability.

“All service requests follow a single process, making it easy to manage. Service-request reporting provides a detailed history of a specific customer, community and service-delivery issue and tracks the service request [from beginning to end]. It is valuable to understand the background of a case when dealing with complaints and service delivery strikes.

“The reference number is used to identify and follow up on a particular notification. Stakeholders can log and track their own service requests. The system is available to all stakeholders 24/7 via the SAP portal and eSelf-service on the internet.”

In addition, she says service requests are used by City departments to manage service delivery. All service-request notifications are dated, categorised and geo coded. Departments are able to plan their work schedules, prioritise, allocate staff resources and budget accordingly.

The process

Asked whether some requests, such as pipe bursts or sewage spills, are dealt with more urgently than others, Limberg explains all service requests follow the same notification process. This single notification process overcomes the challenges of starting and tracking all the different services that the City is responsible for. The process comprises five steps: receive, assign, execute, close and report. She says there is no average turnaround time for a service request as this depends on the department responsible for the request.

How should residents report a problem?

The City’s Call Centre can be contacted by using any of the following channels to report faults or log enquiries:

. Call 0860 103 089;

. Email contact.us@capetown .gov.za;

. SMS to 31220 for electricity-related enquiries and 31373 for water-related enquiries;

. Visit the City’s website www.capetown.gov.za and go to “eServices” or “Have Your Say”;

. Use Twitter and Facebook;

. By using one of the FreeCall lines installed in various areas across the city.

Any roads and stormwater related issues can be reported to the Transport Information Centre (TIC) by using one of the following channels:

. Call 0800 65 64 63;

. Email transport.info@capetown.gov.za;

. Download and use the Transport for Cape Town app on your smartphone, or

. When you contact the City’s Call Centre there will also be an option available to be connected with the TIC.

“When a resident picks up the handset, they will immediately be connected to the City’s Call Centre at no cost.”V What is your opinion on the C3 system? Let us know at cityvision@wpnewspapers.co.za.

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