PATRICK ADMINISTRATION AND CITY OF BOSTON ANNOUNCE 54 MUNICIPALITIES PARTICIPATING IN COMMONWEALTH CONNECT APP
Commonwealth Connect Empowers Residents & Municipal Staff
BOSTON – Tuesday, June 18, 2013 – Secretary of Administration and Finance Glen Shor today joined officials from the City of Boston and local officials from participating municipalities to formally launch the Commonwealth Connect app used by 54 cities and towns across the Commonwealth.
The smart phone application is based on the Citizens Connect app developed for use by the City of Boston and allows residents to report quality of life problems, such as graffiti and potholes, in real time directly to their local government for resolution.
"The Patrick Administration is committed to providing communities with tools and resources to improve the delivery of services our citizens want," said Secretary of Administration and Finance Glen Shor. "Commonwealth Connect is just one more example of how we are creating innovative ways to empower the people of Massachusetts to build stronger and safer communities."
Since its early release in some communities in January 2013, over four thousand service requests have been submitted from 40 different participating cities and towns, over 1,300 issues have been reported by residents via the mobile app, and nearly 3,400 service requests have been completed. Already, over 2,400 people have downloaded the mobile app, which works on both iPhones and Android phones.
"Commonwealth Connect makes it even easier for residents and government to partner on creating great neighborhoods," said Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino. "I am appreciative of the Commonwealth's leadership and support on this project, scaling an approach that's working well in Boston to municipalities across the State."
Commonwealth Connect is made possible by a Community Innovation Challenge (CIC) Grant provided by the Patrick Administration awarded to the City of Boston. Launched in the FY12 budget and administered by the Executive Office for Administration and Finance, the CIC Grant program invests in innovations that have the potential to lower costs and improve critical services through regionalization, new uses of technology, and improved management practices.
To use Commonwealth Connect, residents with smart phones download the app, snap a photo of a problem and submit it to their local government. The residents get a tracking number for their case and can see when their issue is resolved. Nearly half of the municipalities also use Commonwealth Connect as a feature on their website, making it easy for residents to report issues on-line as well.
"Commonwealth Connect has been a transformational tool in the way we interact with our residents in Malden," said Mayor of Malden Gary Christenson. "Since our launch in March, we have seen nearly 3,000 requests submitted and I could not be more pleased with the positive affect it has had on quality of life issues that are very important to our residents."
"Northampton residents quickly embraced this expanded citizen engagement tool," said Mayor of Northampton David Narkewicz. "The City of Northampton now is working towards integration of Commonwealth Connect with our work order management system, called VueWorks. 670 issues from Northampton residents have been submitted since the soft launch in January."
Commonwealth Connect was developed in partnership between the City of Boston and its vendor SeeClickFix. Based in New Haven, CT, SeeClickFix is one of the pioneers of apps and services that allow residents to act on issues they see in their neighborhoods.
Participating municipalities using the expanded application include Ayer, Barnstable, Bedford, Boston, Braintree, Brookfield, Chicopee, Chilmark, Clarksburg, Eastham, Easton, Everett, Fall River, Fitchburg, Framingham, Franklin, Halifax, Haverhill, Holliston, Hopkinton, Lexington, Malden, Medway, Melrose, Middleborough, Nantucket, Needham, New Bedford, Newton, North Adams, North Andover, Northampton, Orange, Randolph, Revere, Royalston, Seekonk, Somerville, Sudbury, Taunton, Wakefield, Ware, Watertown, West Boylston, Westborough, Whitman, Woburn, and Worcester.
In addition, Commonwealth Connect is integrated with the systems of eight additional communities, bringing the total number of communities connected up to 54. Those communities include Andover, Boston, Chelsea, Lowell, Quincy, Saugus, Swampscott and Worcester.
About the CIC Grant Program
In the FY12 budget, Governor Patrick proposed the development of the CIC grant program to encourage and incentivize regionalization and other innovative efficiency initiatives. The CIC grant program was supported by the Legislature, providing $4 million for regionalization and other initiatives that will improve the effectiveness and efficiency in the delivery of local services. An additional $2.25 million in funding for the program was provided in the FY13 budget.
About Mayor Menino's Office of New Urban Mechanics
Commonwealth Connect is a project of the Mayor's Office of New Urban Mechanics: Mayor Menino's Office of New Urban Mechanics focuses on piloting transformative services that leverage civic engagement and new technology.