Sri Lanka’s 1919 Government Information Center, serving 20 million people gets around 3000 calls a day, compared to New York City’s 311 service which is serving perhaps the same number of people but gets 50,000 calls a day. Long way to go .. . . not only in terms of getting citizens to use the telephone to interact with government, but also for government to use data and IT to better deliver government services, as described in the NYT article excerpted below:
“The mistake people make is to think that collecting the data is the endgame,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, the mayor of New York. The real payoff, he said, takes another step. “We actually use the data,” he noted.
Indeed, New York has been a pioneer among cities in the use of computing firepower to sift through data to improve services. It began in the 1990s with the city’s CompStat system for mapping, identifying and predicting crime. The system, combined with new policing practices, reduced crime rates in New York and was later adopted by Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Baltimore and other cities.
In 2002, the city began its “311” telephone number for answering questions about government services and to report problems down to missing manhole covers. The service receives 50,000 calls a day, and earlier this year began operating on the Web as well. Complaints, response times and resolved problems are tracked and measured to improve performance.