News from eCasework

There are plenty of tricks to deal with casework overload, but now there’s one to help you quickly sort the wheat from the chaff: custom tags.

By adding custom tags to your cases and contacts, you can easily find everything related to potholes, licensing, Baker Grove, or anything you choose. There’s no limit to the number or nature of tags you can create. Find out how to tag cases, how to group contacts with custom tags, and search through your casework for specific items.

Click a tag to search for the group

Imagine the following scenario. Ms Dean has been in touch to complain about the noise from a nearby building site. You’ve taken it up with the council and they’ll be visiting the site soon. But what about everyone else that lives near Ms Dean?

Luckily, you’ve tagged each person with the name of the street they live on, meaning you can click the tag and quickly find Ms Dean and her neighbours. Now you can be proactive and get in touch to tell them it’s being sorted.

By grouping people together using tags, you can quickly and easily find people with common traits.

Descriptive page titles

Are you waiting for an email or expecting an officer to reply to a case? Whenever there’s an update that needs your attention, we’ll show the number of alerts in the eCasework tab of your web browser. So, if you’ve been distracted by important news about the age of water, at least you’ll know when to get back to work!
Alerts in the tab menu.

Profile pictures

A picture paints a thousand words…unless you consider profile pictures, which paint a few words at best: a person’s name. Add profile pictures to your contacts and they’ll show up on cases, making it easy to distinguish between those Adam Smiths and Jane Does.

Alongside those updates we’ve squashed the bugs, made it easier to use and prettied things up a bit. Please keep suggesting things we can improve or add, your feedback is invaluable.

News from eCasework

Found a pothole while out and about? Been approached by a resident in the supermarket? Want to check a case on the bus?

There’s no time like the present. Now you can help local residents wherever you may be with eCasework on your smartphone. To start managing casework on your Android or iOS device, visit the website on your smartphone and log in to your account – it’s that simple!

Use your smartphone to snap a photo

Use your smartphone to snap a photo.

When you’re out and about in your ward, you might spot something that needs sorting out. You can raise this as casework instantly with your smartphone’s camera by creating a case and attaching a photo.
Use the ‘Attach file to case’ link when creating a case, choose ‘from your device’ and then select your device’s camera from the list. Once you’ve taken a photo it’ll be attached to your case automatically. (This uses your data connection on 3G, 4G or Wi-Fi, so be mindful of your data limits.)

Along with the mobile release, we’ve improved the app’s performance and fixed all bugs. If you have any ideas for things you’d like to see on your dashboard, let us know and we can add it to the list.

News from eCasework

Good communication and engagement is central to a councillor’s role. You’re the bridge between a council and its citizens, and keeping track of who has raised problems can make your life a lot easier.

When a resident raises a problem, they’re going to expect a resolution. But once that problem is solved, who should tell the resident? Each council has its own way of keeping up with residents, but we recommend that councillors take the lead and communicate with citizens directly. People trust local advocates who are seen to be improving the quality of life in their neighbourhood…and that’s you!

To help you keep track of residents’ issues, you can note down details of your constituents in eCasework. Think of it like an electronic address book, except this address book can tell you much more than names, addresses and numbers. Watch the video below to explore the People section of eCasework.

Remember: By collecting the personal details of local residents, you will be acting as a data controller under the Data Protection Act 1998 and should adhere to the legislation. The Information Commissioner’s Office has advice for elected and prospective councillors on the use of personal information in your role.

News from eCasework

It’s been a few weeks since we released our last update and – despite our deep desires – it’s not because we’ve been lazing around in the sun. We’re currently building the mobile version of eCasework, bringing constituency management to the palm of your hand. (In fact, we’re looking for councillors to help us test the system, so read this blog if you’re interested in helping out.) There were a few bits and pieces we need to work in first, though, and he’s what’s included in today’s release (v.0.1.11).

Sync your calendars

Need to check your casework calendar but not near a computer? Fear not, you can now add your eCasework calendar to your smartphone and online calendars.

Emailing council officers

When it’s time for officers to get involved, you can bring them into the picture by sending the case history. Click ‘Send email from case’ on the case’s details page, include the relevant case updates and pass it on. All replies will be recorded.

Attach files when adding a case

If you’re walking around your ward and found something that needs fixing, you’ll want to get it sorted straight away. We’ve given you the option to attach a file or photo whilst creating a case, making doorstepping and surgeries easier than ever.

Assistants: update cases from your inbox

Things can get a little hectic in Member Services, so we’ve improved the way you manage cases via email. You’ll now receive detailed email notifications and can update the case immediately.

And finally…

It’s good to talk. So whenever you’ve got a burning question or something’s not working, tell us immediately. We’ve added live chat to eCasework, meaning you can get in touch without emails or phones. We’re available immediately during the week, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and we can get to you quickly outside those hours too.
Chat with us!

News from eCasework

We’re inviting councillors to test the mobile version of eCasework on their smartphones, helping us to fix anything unsightly or unforeseen.

When we launched eCasework for computer and tablet in March, we were itching to get it ready for smartphones too, but we spent some time refining the app based on people’s feedback. Within the last few months, we’ve released a lot of new features, as well as some tiny improvements, and the time came to tackle mobile support. For the past couple of months we have been building the mobile version and it’s almost ready…

Now that we’re close to finishing our internal testing, we’re looking for councillors who can put the tool through its paces on their smartphones. You’ll need to manage your casework through the website using your smartphone, telling us whenever you spot something that needs fixing. Your data will always be kept safe by our strict security policy, all you need to get started is a mobile data tariff or Wi-Fi enabled.

Interested? Use the button below to sign up to the preview testing group and we’ll be in touch once it’s ready to go. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch via Twitter or email.

Thanks for your interest but applications are now closed.

News from eCasework

You’ve signed up for a free trial (if you haven’t, click here!), set your password and logged in for the first time. But now that you’ve got 30 days to put the tool through its paces, how are you going to make it work for you? We’ve compiled these tips to show you how to use the features that will improve the casework process and help you get things sorted.

1. Add your first case, import your contacts

There’s no time like the present. Seize the moment and add your first case by following the step-by-step guide on our help site. Once you’ve added a case, you’ll be able to access your account and work on it at home, in the office, by the pool…literally anywhere with an internet connection! Now is a good time to build up your contacts list too, and you can follow these instructions to import your address book.

2. Set yourself a follow-up strategy

For some constituents, casework can be the last port of call for getting their problems solved when the ‘system’ has failed them. In that sense, processing casework can be considered as providing good customer service and a decent follow-up strategy will ensure everything runs smoothly.

  • Always communicate clearly: tell residents & officers what needs doing and when it should be completed. This is called ‘signposting’ and helps keep everyone on track.
  • Set small, achievable goals: casework will become a piece of cake if you break up the process into manageable tasks. We’ve written tips on how to do that here.
  • Review cases regularly: it’s easy to forget about something when it’s brand new but making casework a part of your daily routine is a cinch. Why not change your homepage to eCasework or launch eCasework like an app from your tablet?

3. Be proactive and start collecting cases

Residents really appreciate it when they can see that voting for you wasn’t a waste, and the best way to show your dedication is through doorstepping. People may not always be able to make it to your surgeries or may not know how to get in touch, but a friendly chat on their doorstep shows that you’re willing to help with their problems. Pick up your tablet or iPad (don’t forget to connect to mobile data!), knock on someone’s door, and add their casework to your case list.

4. Receive cases through your blog or via email

Haven’t got time to go out into the neighbourhood? By adding your eCasework email address to your Twitter or Facebook profile, constituents will be able to send their problems direct to you, and you can start building your address book as well as your case list. If you often receive casework via your council address, we recommend setting up automatic case creation. There’s a step-by-step guide on our help site to guide you through the process. You can also start collecting casework on your website or blog, and we’ve written a post showing you how to do that.

5. Ask for a helping hand

Not sure on how to make something work? Don’t worry, help is at hand. Get in touch with the support team and they’ll get back to you soon.

News from eCasework

Though you might be a local hero to some, there are times when even the most accomplished councillor needs to call on a helping hand. These democratic angels come in the form of assistants – known as council officers or Members Services to some – and can help councillors by making enquiries or ensuring the council acts upon residents’ problems. Given that assistants can be so instrumental in making things better for local people, we thought they should have the tools to make a difference.

This morning we released a new version of eCasework (v.0.1.10, if you’re interested!) which allows your assistants to send emails from cases. All messages sent out are recorded in the case, and any replies received are added as an update, forming a full history of the conversations that helped solve a case. There’s no need for you or your assistants to change any settings as the update is now available to all users.

That’s what we’ve been up to the past few weeks. What have you been doing? Keep up to date with all our goings on and join the eCasework mailing list.

News from eCasework

Whilst you’re out there helping local residents, we’re over here at eCasework HQ tinkering with the app to make it better. Each fortnight we roll these improvements into a new release and send it on its merry way to councillors across the United Kingdom.

And this seems like the ideal time to welcome all new councillors, who were elected to represent their ward during the recent local elections in England. Congratulations!

News from eCasework

Pick a picture to represent yourself. (No, not a selfie.) Find a shape or symbol that shows your character. Not so easy is it? As a councillor, there’s no doubting the values you stand for but choosing an image that shouts those ideas too can be tough.

That’s what we we’ve been up to recently. We know what eCasework is and where its future lies, but how do you translate that into pictures? Hire a bunch of talented designers, of course! Here’s what they came up with.

An idea from Charcoal Eater. An idea from NRE Branding Studio. eCasework logo idea from HenDsign.

Rather good, aren’t they? We were blessed with a wealth of design talent but had to settle on one. After a couple of round-tables and one seemingly prophetic dream (imagine your boss is a logo, that’s essentially the narrative that played out), we finally settled on our choice.

Et voilà! The winning designer was NRE Branding Studio whose designer used a bespoke font face for the typography and simplified the icon based on our feedback. Gone now are the bulky filing cabinets full of papers, reams of letters you could forget to reply to and leave someone sorry they elected you. eCasework is the replacement for that. It stores everything, allows you to access it wherever, whenever, tells you who to talk to and when to get in touch.

It’s your digital filing cabinet. We think the logo encapsulates that perfectly.

News from eCasework

It’s all too common a tale when you’re a local councillor. As a prominent figure in the local community, people may come to you with problems at any moment  – and all you’re trying to do is buy some groceries. Fitting your public role into your private life can be tough.

But you did sign up to this. Your community should feel like it can rely on you, that you’re approachable and trustworthy. And so juggling your bags and their concerns, you reach for your notebook to record their case. You scribble it down. Done.

That’s not the end though. When you get home, you’ve got to start the cogs of local democracy turning to get this problem solved. Only you’ve mislaid the note. You can’t remember their exact address. What were the finer details of their noise complaint again?

There’s a better way to stay organised.

Helping you to help them

For over 10 years, councillors across the UK have been using eCasework to record, track and complete cases brought to them by their public. It’s a useful tool, taken on centrally by Lambeth Council and Rotherham Council to help their councillors improve life for local residents. But as with everything, there comes a time when you need to do a bit of maintenance, tinker with things and make improvements. So we’re building a new version.

A new era

Without a doubt, technology plays an important role in the lives of most people. Technology has been helping businesses everywhere become more efficient and provide better services. There’s also a growing trend for councillors to become more active online and engage digitally with their local community.

With all of that in mind, the new version of eCasework is being designed from the ground up. Paying particular attention to mobile devices, scenarios like the mislaid note will become a thing of the past. Next time a neighbour raises a concern, you’ll be primed and ready to help. They can track the case too. You’ll be able to see if it’s part of a larger issue. Your casework can even start to inform local policy.

We want to help you

  • be a local champion
  • stay on the ball with community developments
  • engage personally with residents and business, and
  • get things done.

Join us!

Keep an eye on this blog or join us on Twitter to hear about all the latest developments. Current eCasework members can claim a discount on the new version now.

Thanks for reading!

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