Staff users in FixMyStreet

Privileged accounts with access to management features.

Staff users are a middle rung of account, inbetween normal users of the site and superusers with full access to everything. They are associated with a particular body, and can have access to different features, depending upon the permissions granted to them. All their abilities only apply to reports made to the body with which they are associated; all staff users have access to all report states, not just open/fixed.

Viewing all reports in your area

Permissions required: none

If you want to view everything that’s been reported within the council area, here’s the quickest way.

Click on ‘all reports’ in the top menu. You’ll see the boundaries of your council area on the map, and a list of all reports listed, with the most recent reports at the top, on the left hand panel.

Click all reports in the top menu to view all reports in an area

Note that staff members can be allocated one or more category (e.g. potholes, streetlights, etc) by the Administrator — see ‘Creating a Staff Account’ for more details. When logged in, these staff members will see reports within these categories by default.

Defining the area of interest

Permissions required: none

If required, you can also use the controls to the right of the screen to zoom in or out, or pan across the map. As you’ll see, the list of reports always reflects the area you are viewing on the map, so this is another way of refining your view.

Once you’ve found a satisfactory view, and if you are likely to want to revisit it, click on the ‘Permalink’ button at the bottom of the screen. This will alter the URL displayed in your browser, and allow you it as a bookmark which you may revisit, so you don’t have to define the location again in the future.

Viewing a report in a specific area

If you already know the street name or postcode of the location you’d like to view, you may find it quicker to use the search form on the front page.

Filtering and sorting reports

Permissions required: none

The drop-downs at the top of the report list allow you to filter which reports you see

The drop-downs at the top of the report list allow you to filter which reports you see, by state (e.g. ‘Fixed’ or ‘In progress’) and category (e.g. Potholes or Graffiti). You may also sort them by date created, how recently they have been updated, or number of updates.

Viewing a single report

Permissions required: none

Click on one of the issues in the list, or on a map pin, to view the full report. See ‘Dealing with undesirable content‘ below for how to moderate or hide a report.

Searching for a report

Permissions required: User must be marked as staff; “Edit reports” or “Edit users’ details/search for their reports” must be ticked

Click on ‘admin’ in the top menu bar.

There are a number of different options for using the Search Reports box:

  • Enter any word contained in the required report’s title or body
  • Search by the report-maker’s name (or part of the name), their email address or phone number (where given).
  • Search by the report’s ID number if it’s known. Putting ‘id:’ directly before this number in the search box will speed up the return of results.

There are a number of different options for using the Search Reports box

The search will return a list of all reports that fulfil your parameters. Depending upon the staff user’s permissions, you can then either click on the report’s ID number to open the report in a new browser window and access the moderation/ editing/ inspection facilities there; or click on the word ‘Edit’ to access the full report admin editing page.

Searching for a user

Permissions required: User must be marked as staff; “Edit users’ details/search for their reports” must be ticked

Click on ‘admin’ in the top menu bar.

Enter any part of the user’s name or email address in the ‘Search users’ box.

Editing a user’s information

Permissions required: User must be marked as staff; “Edit users’ details/search for their reports” must be ticked.

Click on ‘Edit’ beside any user to view or change their account details. Or, click the user’s email address to view a list of all reports and updates made by that user.

Viewing reports as a non-staff user

As a staff user, your view of a report includes moderation functions which ordinary users do not see. If you would like to view a report as a member of the public would see it, there are three options:

  • Log out of FixMyStreet, or
  • Start a private browsing session, or
  • View the page in a different browser (e.g. Chrome rather than Internet Explorer), in which you are not logged in to FixMyStreet.

Any of these courses of action will allow you to view the site as an anonymous visitor, with no recognition of your staff role.

Creating reports on behalf of another user/ the council

Permissions required: User must be marked as staff; one or more of ‘Create reports/updates on a user’s behalf’, ‘Create reports/updates as anonymous user’ and ‘Create reports/updates as the council’ must be ticked.

If a resident makes a report by phone or in person, staff members with the appropriate permissions can add it to FixMyStreet on their behalf. The report may bear the resident’s name; or it may be anonymous (i.e. the report-maker’s name is not published on the site, but will still be available in the admin interface). Alternatively, reports can be made as if from the council itself. In such cases, staff should make a new report just as a member of the public would — see ‘The citizen’s experience’. Those with the appropriate permissions will see a dropdown box in the report-making interface, labeled ‘Report As’. Select ‘the council’, ‘yourself’, ‘anonymous’ or ‘another user’.

Dealing with undesirable content

Fortunately, abuse of FixMyStreet is fairly rare: undesirable content represents a tiny fraction of the reports made each year. But of course, you need the tools to deal with it, and there are other reasons you may wish to edit a report, too. We estimate that somewhere in the region of three in every thousand reports will require moderation, based on figures from other councils.

Reasons for moderation

  • Personal information ​such as the accidental inclusion of contact details in the report body.
  • Potentially libelous content ​such as complaints about illegal or anti-social behaviour which implicate an identifiable individual.
  • Abusive content ​such as profanity or unsuitable images.
  • Council staff ​ may have added an update which they now wish to alter, eg because of a spelling mistake (if the report’s status has changed or a factual error was made, we recommend a new update rather than editing an existing one).

We recommend a ‘light touch’ approach to editing, in which any content from a user, other than those types listed above, is left intact. For example, there is no need to correct a report-maker’s spelling or grammar unless they request that you do so.

Moderating reports

Permissions required: User must be marked as staff; ‘moderate report details’ must be ticked.

When logged in, staff with the required level of permissions can moderate reports directly on the report webpage. You will see a ‘moderate’ button below the report’s main body, and above each update. Clicking this button gives you the ability to:

  • Edit the title or body of the report or update
  • Remove a user’s name from the report or update
  • Remove a photograph from a report

The ‘moderate’ button below the report’s main body

You can also add a note to indicate the reason for the change to the report.

Hiding reports

Clicking the moderation button also gives you the option to hide an entire report or its updates. ‘Hiding’ means that the report is no longer visible to the general public, but it remains in the site’s database and is accessible to staff with admin permissions.

Once a report is hidden, staff without admin permissions can no longer access it — so if, for example, they hide a report by accident and wish to revert it to public, they must contact a team member with the appropriate permissions.

Removing users’ names

When users make a report on FixMyStreet, they may choose not to display their name on the public web page. If a user accidentally chooses to display their name and then wishes to remove it, they can do so themselves when logged in to FixMyStreet.

However, if necessary, council staff can also remove a name from a public report on behalf of the user: see ‘moderating reports’.

Adding a user to the abuse list

Permissions required: User must be marked as staff, ‘Edit reports’ must be ticked.

You can add an abusive user’s email to the abuse list, which automatically hides any reports they create, and means that their reports are not sent. Instead, the user sees a message that there was an error in confirming their report.

Staff with the required permissions can ban a user directly from a report page, using the ‘Ban user’ button.

Ban a user directly from a report page

Removing users from the banned list

When a user has been banned, an ‘unban’ button will be visible on their records and reports. This restores them to the status of a standard user, but it does not have any effect on reports which were made during the period when the user was banned — these remain unsent.

Correcting reporter errors

Changing a report’s category

Permissions required: User must be marked as staff, and ‘edit report category’ must be ticked.

If the user has chosen the wrong category for their report, when logged in, staff with the appropriate permissions can change it from within the on-page editing interface, from the dropdown to the right of the report.

Change the category of a report

If changing the category of the report results in it becoming the responsibility of another authority, the report will be re-sent to that authority. Do not mark it as closed, even though you have now dealt with it as far as your council is concerned; from the other authority’s point of view, and for the person who made the report, the status is still open.

However, if the report remains your council’s responsibility, the category change does not re-send the report unless the send method has changed (e.g. in the case of councils where some reports are sent via the Open311 protocol and others by email).

Changing the location

Permissions required: User must be marked as staff; ‘Markup problem details’, ‘Edit report category’, or ‘Edit report priority’ must be ticked

  • You can click and drag a pin at any time to change the report’s specified location.
  • When viewing a report on the ground, staff with the appropriate permissions may click ‘set to my current location’. This will reset the co-ordinates of the issue to reflect a more accurate placement.

Keeping the report-maker informed

Updates can be left on a report in order to keep the creator of the report, and the wider public viewing the site, informed on what is happening with the report. Staff members can update the state of the report if necessary, including states such as ‘in progress’ or ‘no further action’, plus leave a textual update to explain in more detail.

Many issues require identical or very similar responses. Rather than type your reply out each time, staff can choose from a number of pre-written (but still editable) template responses, such as ‘Thank you for your report, we’ll be back in touch with an update soon’, ‘Repairs are now underway’ and ‘This issue is now closed’.

Status updates

Permissions required: User must be marked as staff

Use a template to make public updates faster

From the report page, staff with the appropriate permissions may select from the ‘public update’ dropdown. This will prefill an update with template text for one of a number of common statuses. The templates are created by the Administrator; see ‘Creating response templates’.

The text in template responses is fully editable on the report page, so staff may also choose to add their own comments or edit the preformatted responses to reflect the precise circumstances of the report. Alternatively they may write an entirely new status update.

In some cases, template responses are automatically attached to a report state — for example, setting the report state as closed may automatically select the template ‘Issue closed’. See ‘creating a template’.

If ‘Create reports/updates as the council’ is ticked in the staff user’s account permissions, their updates will be labeled as from the council rather than the staff member’s name. For the sake of staff privacy, this is usually preferable.

This option is also available via the general ‘Update’ box under the main report.

Requests for more information

Depending on your preference, you may request more information by contacting the user directly, or by leaving a status update on the report that asks for the details you need. Both will reach the report-maker; the difference is that a status update can also be seen by anyone viewing the report online.

Prioritising tasks

Permissions required: User must be marked as staff and ‘edit report priority’ or ‘mark up problem details’ must be ticked.

Set a report priority from the report screen

Setting a priority

From the panel on the right hand side of a report, staff with the appropriate permissions may select a priority from a drop-down list. These priorities are created by Administrator-level users; see ‘Setting categories and priorities ’.

Working with shortlists

Permissions required: User must be marked as staff and ‘manage shortlist’ must be ticked.

You can easily create a shortlist of reports that you need to inspect, and arrange them into the order that suits you best. Once that’s done, you can consult them via a mobile device — even when offline — or, if you prefer, print the list out on paper.

Making a shortlist

Add reports to your shortlist by clicking the star icons

First, navigate to the ‘All reports’ page where you will see issues listed on the left. In most cases, it’s useful to leave these in their default of ‘sort by newest’ so that you see the most recent reports first, and to use the dropdown to filter the reports so that you only see those which have an ‘open’ status. You may also wish to limit your results to a specific category. See more about filtering and sorting reports.

Once this is done, you can add a report to your shortlist by clicking on the star beside it. The star will turn green to indicate that it has been added. Click the stars by any report which you wish to investigate.

At a certain level of zoom, there’s also the ability to ‘add all reports visible to shortlist’, which allows you to make a bulk addition of everything within the area.

Alternatively, you may add a report from within the individual report page. Adding a report to your own list will remove it from any other staff member’s list to which it has previously been added.

Add a report to your shortlist from within the individual report page

Viewing, editing and sorting the shortlist

Click on ‘Shortlist’ in the top menu bar and you will see all the reports which you’ve selected. You can continue to add more reports by returning to the ‘all reports’ page.

View your shortlist from the link in the navigation bar

If you wish to remove a report from your list, click on the green star again. This can be done on the individual report’s page, from the ‘all reports’ page, or from within your shortlist.

Shortlists can be ordered and filtered in the same way as the main list, by using the dropdown menus. You can also use the arrows beside each report title to move them up or down the list, until they are in a practical order for your route or priorities.

Viewing navigation routes

From any report, you can click the button marked ‘navigate to this problem’. This will open a separate tab in your browser, and plot a route on Google maps from your current location.

Viewing and editing reports offline

Permissions required: User must be marked as staff and ‘manage shortlist’ must be ticked.

Sometimes it’s useful to be able to see and update reports even when you’re offline — perhaps in areas with low mobile connectivity, or because you want to save data. FixMyStreet Pro will let you do this, and then it syncs everything up when you’re back online.

Visit your shortlist page before you go out and about: you’ll see a message that the list is being cached for use offline. That means that whenever you are viewing the page without an internet connection, you’ll be able to see the reports — make sure you have the shortlist page bookmarked so that you can find it when you need it.

While offline, you can view reports, create and edit updates. The changes will all go live once you go online to sync.

Syncing

To synchronise your records once you’re back online, just visit any page on FixMyStreet and click the prompt to submit your changes.

Administrating staff accounts

Creating a staff account

Permissions required: User must be marked as staff; ‘Edit other users’ permissions’ must be ticked.

From the user admin page you can administer staff accounts

Go to the ‘Users’ tab in the admin menu.

You’ll see a table of existing users. Below this is the ‘add user’ interface.

First create the basic user account by inputting a name and email address, plus any other contact details desired. Once this is done and you have saved the input, you can edit the account to assign any permissions required.

You can use the same form to create a user account for a resident or a member of staff, so tick ‘staff user’ if you wish to create an admin account.

The new staff user can then log in via the normal method.

Assigning permissions

Permissions required: User must be marked as staff; ‘Edit other users’ permissions must be ticked.

You can assign permissions to users on this screen

Once you have created the basic staff user account, you’ll be taken to a page where you can assign permissions.

You can also always edit any user from the table at the top of the Users page by clicking ‘edit’. Check the boxes relating to the permissions you wish that user to have, and click ‘submit changes’.

Setting categories or areas

Permissions required: User must be marked as staff; ‘Edit other users’ permissions’ must be ticked.

You can allocate categories to individual users by checking the relevant category boxes

The Administrator can allocate one or more categories of report (e.g. Potholes or Highways maintenance) to a staff user by editing the user and checking the relevant category boxes. The staff user, when logged in, will then only see reports within those categories. This is useful where a staff user only deals with reports of a specific type.

Removing accounts

To remove an account, the Administrator-level member of staff should make contact with mySociety.

Creating and editing categories

Note

If your FixMyStreet Pro installation has been integrated with a CRM system, this section does not apply. In such cases, categories are managed from within the CRM, and FixMyStreet will be set up to work with these.

Permissions required: User must be marked as staff; “Add/edit problem categories” must be ticked.

Control the categories the site displays when a report is made here

Creating a category

Those with the appropriate permissions can dictate which categories the site displays when a report is being made.

These categories also become one of the criteria by which all users — both members of the public and staff users — can filter reports when viewing them on the site.

From the Admin menu, click on ‘Categories’. You’ll see a table of existing categories, and below that, a form by which you can create new ones.

Input a title for the category, and the email address to which reports in that category should be forwarded. When creating a category, these are the only fields required.

You can set up as many or as few categories as you like, and each category can have its own email address attached to it, so for example, reports about potholes may go to one council email address, while reports about road signs go to another. More than one category may share the same email address, if required.

For the best user experience, categories should be limited to no more than 20, and should be fairly broad — so for example, one category titled ‘Parking’ is better than several titled ‘Bad parking’, ‘Car parks’, ‘Parking meters’, etc — especially if all the reports end up in the same mailbox. Fewer and broader categories ensure better accuracy in the routing of reports that you receive, as it is easier for a user to identify the correct one.

Category titles should, as far as possible, use language that residents of all levels of experience or education are likely to understand, rather than internal council or highways management jargon (such as ‘paths’ rather than ‘footways’ and ‘roads’ rather than ‘carriageways’ or even ‘highways’). We always recommend the inclusion of one category titled ‘Other’, for reports which do not fit into any pre-existing category. This should route emails to a general mailbox from where a member of staff can forward them to the most suitable destination.

Editing categories

Permissions required: User must be marked as staff; “Add/edit problem categories” must be ticked.

You can edit categories using the edit category interface

You can edit categories at any time by clicking on their title within the table at the top of the Categories page.

From here, you can:

  • Change the email address that the reports in this category are routed to
  • Set the category’s ‘state’ to Confirmed, Unconfirmed, Inactive or Deleted. This can be useful when categories are discontinued or changed, for example if responsibilities are transferred to another council, or your own council reconfigures its departments.
    • Confirmed ​ indicates that the email address has been verified as correct.
    • Inactive ​ will remove the category from use when reporting problems, but keep it available in map filters. It’s useful for categories which have been discontinued, but which you’d still like users to to be able to view data on.
    • Deleted ​ will remove the category from use, and from map filters. Use this if you want to discontinue a category and have no need for it to appear on the site.
    • Unconfirmed ​ is for categories where the attached email address has not been verified as correct. This option is not commonly used by councils. Reports sent to unconfirmed categories are not routed to the council; instead, an alert email is sent to mySociety staff.

Creating and editing priorities

Permissions required: User must be marked as staff; “Add/edit response priorities” must be ticked.

Priorities indicate the relative urgency or importance of a report. You can set them to reflect your own internal prioritisation system; there’s also space to add priority codes to comply with external services that reports may be passed on to.

Set your priorities to reflect your organisations needs

Create a new priority

Click on ‘Priorities’ in the admin menu. You will see any existing priorities listed in a table. Click ‘New priority’ to add a new one, then provide the following details:

  • Name ​Give the priority a name which will be recognisable when it is being chosen from a dropdown list within a report, e.g. ‘High priority’.
  • Categories ​ Priorities can be applied to one or more category of report: check the boxes to indicate which categories.
  • Description ​ Include a description of the priority, e.g. ‘Four hour fix’.
  • External ID ​ Any code that needs to be passed on to external contractors or services. - Default priority ​Tick the box if this priority applies to all reports by default.

Edit an existing priority

Click on ‘Priorities’ in the admin menu. You will see any existing priorities listed in a table. Click ‘edit’ to make changes to an existing priority, and change any of the following, as required:

  • Name ​ The identifier which appears, to staff with the appropriate permissions, in the dropdown menu within a report.
  • Categories ​ Priorities can apply to one or more category of report: check the boxes to indicate which categories.
  • Description ​ Include a description of the priority, e.g. ‘four hour fix’.
  • External ID ​ Any code that needs to be passed on to external contractors or services - Default priority ​Tick the box if this priority applies to all reports by default. If you check this box, it will override any existing default priorities.
  • Flag as deleted ​ Removes the priority from the system so that it can no longer be applied to reports.

Creating and editing response templates

Permissions required: User must be marked as staff; “Add/edit response templates” must be ticked.

You can create and edit pre-written responses on the response templates screen

Staff users with the appropriate permissions may create and edit pre-written responses, so that they can be applied to reports quickly and easily.

Creating a template

Click on ‘Templates’ in the admin menu. You will see a table of any existing templates. Click on the button below, marked ‘New template’.

Common template responses deal with statuses such as: Report received; Scheduled for inspection; Not council responsibility; Scheduled for repair; Work underway; Unable to fix; Re-opened; and Resolved.

There is no limit to the number of template responses you can create. When creating templates, you should consider:

  • What are the most common response types that you send back to report makers? It may be worth examining recent responses to find out.
  • How should you word your response template text to make it as easy as possible for the report maker to understand the status of their issue?
  • What title should you give the template so that it can be easily identified from a drop-down list when it is being applied by staff users?

Input a title and some text for your template, then set which categories it should apply to. You may create different templates for each category, or use the same templates across multiple categories.

You can also set a State so that the template response is automatically used when that state is applied to a report.

For example, you can set it so that when a staff user changes a report’s state to ‘No further action’, the ‘Resolved’ status update text is automatically applied. While this functionality can be a time-saver, we advise using it with caution to ensure that the template text is applicable to every situation in which is will be automatically applied.

If you have an Open311 connection, you can click ‘auto-response’ so that a template will be applied when the state is updated by the automated Open311 process.

Editing or deleting a template

Click on ‘Templates’ in the admin menu. You will see a table of existing templates. Click on ‘Edit’ beside the status you wish to change. You may alter any of the fields as described in the section above, ‘Creating a template’. Additionally you can delete the template from this page.

Viewing statistics

Permissions required: User must be marked as staff

When you first log in to the Admin area, you’ll see some top-level stats at the foot of the page, including the number of reports published on the site, the number of updates, the number of alerts set up and the number of user questionnaires sent out. This can be useful for a quick snapshot of activity.

For a more detailed breakdown, visit the stats dashboard. This can be accessed by typing ‘/dashboard’ on the end of your FixMyStreet url.

From here, you can access statistics on:

  • All reports made across the council area
  • Reports made within any specific ward
  • Reports made within any specific category
  • Reports made between specific dates
  • Reports that have a specific status, eg ‘open’ or ‘fixed’
  • A combination of the above.

You can also group the results by:

  • Category
  • State
  • Category and state
  • Month
  • Device (this allows you to see how many people access your site via the website, via an Android device or via an iOS device).

These statistics can be downloaded as a CSV document, suitable for use in a spreadsheet program such as Excel.