How does FixMyStreet work?

FixMyStreet sends problem reports to the people who can fix them!

How it works

FixMyStreet makes it easy for anyone to report a problem without worrying about the correct authority to send it to. FixMyStreet takes care of that using the problem’s location and category, and sends a report, by email or using a web service such as Open311, to the department or body responsible for fixing it.

But FixMyStreet doesn’t just send problem reports — it makes the reports visible to everyone. Anyone can see what’s already been reported, leave updates, or subscribe to alerts. We help prevent duplicate reports and offer additional features for staff users working for the authorities who are actually fixing problems.

Want to run FixMyStreet in your area?

If you want to get FixMyStreet up and running, this is what you need to do:

1. Gather a team

To begin with, we think this is the minimum:

This describes a tiny team of three — if you can get more, great! Admins can share the work, translators can work on different texts at the same time, and devs can work on code and design customisations.

2. Install the software

3. Get the data for the areas you want to cover

We know from experience it's a good idea to start small and expand later (for example, maybe start with one city and go national when that's running well):

  • you'll need to get the boundary data for the area you're covering (and the borders of any authorities within it)
  • you must find email addresses for each of the departments responsible for each category of problem, in each of the bodies responsible for the areas you're covering

4. Customise the site

There's lots you can do to customise the site:
  • configure the site so it does what you want
  • make simple colour scheme changes, logo, and wording changes
  • optionally make more complex design or behaviour changes — this will require dev skills (you can do this, or ask us to)
  • translate it into the language(s) you need. We use a service called Transifex so your translators don't need to be programmers.
  • change the about/privacy/FAQ pages by writing your own

5. Go live!

Actually setting up a FixMyStreet project is just the beginning — you need to be committed for the long term to see the site grow and succeed. There will be user support to do, marketing and press to handle, liaison with the authorities you're sending the reports to, and perhaps even integration (because email is the easiest, but not necessarily the best, way to send those reports).

We’ve written a clear guide for anyone who’s thinking about setting up and running FixMyStreet. If you’re thinking of running such a project, you must read it first – it explains why these sites work, and what you need to think about before you start.

If you still want to be involved, we welcome questions about how it works on our mailing list. Or, if you’re outside the UK, email international@mysociety.org.

There’s also the FixMyStreet blog where we post version release information and other progress reports. And we often post FixMyStreet news on the mySociety blog too.