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Waltham Forest creates Facebook chatbot for fly tipping

19/03/18

London borough provides residents with bot to report and track environmental services

Waltham Forest Council has launched a chatbot through its Facebook page that enables residents to report issues including fly tipping and dog fouling.

A pile of dumped rubbishIt said the tool will send reports straight through to the council crews on the ground and help to speed up response times.

The bot is triggered by clicking the ‘Send message’ option on the Facebook page, and asks a series of questions for reporting the issue and provides the ability to locate it on a Google Map. The person then receives a unique reference that can be used to track the progress of the response online.

It also gives them the option to receive updates via Messenger.

Councillor Clyde Loakes, deputy leader and cabinet member for the environment, said: “Our innovative new chatbot allows residents to quickly and easily make reports using their smartphones, tablets or computers at any time, from any place. It frees up resources and means we can focus on delivering the great service our residents expect and deserve.

“We’re also asking for residents’ help to track down the litter louts who feel it is okay to dump their rubbish on our streets. By working together we can identify them, issue fines, and send a clear message: This behaviour is not welcome in Waltham Forest.”

Quality of life effect

Paul Neville, Waltham Forest’s director of digital and ICT, told UKAuthority the services – which also include dealing with fly posting and rubbish in front gardens – were chosen because they are those that people notice most readily.

The council is planning to add others and to develop a similar service to work through Twitter.

Last year, Waltham Forest issued over 1,000 fines for fly tipping.

Image from Waltham Forest Council

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