Tay Township is going digital.
Staff brought forward to council a new platform called MyTay that will allow residents to register and submit and track their service requests online. The system will be launched April 1 with this initial feature, followed by the addition of options allowing residents to buy dog tags, parking permits, and building permits online, too.
To register, the residents will have to provide a full name and an email address or a phone number.
“The registrant will receive a verification code they can enter to be able to access their account,” said Daryl O’Shea, general manager, corporate services manager of technology services. “You can log into Service Requests and create a request. It gives you the option to send it directly to the concerned department. There are options within each department.”
When residents log back in to the portal, they can look at the progress of their previous requests, he said, adding that the system also allows for files to be uploaded.
On staff’s side of things, said O’Shea, a staff guide explains the process.
“Essentially, when somebody enters a request online, the administrative staff in each of those departments will receive a notification,” he said. “They will triage it to involve the appropriate staff member. When they assign the task, that staff member will then receive an email notifying them of the ticket that they’re responsible for. To make sure nobody misses email or nothing gets dropped, the system also has the ability to produce reports.”
Once a request has been registered, O’Shea said staff can respond to it.
“If I were to go back in to the system, after staff has replied, we can see the reply,” he said. “The resident will also receive an email from the system telling them staff have replied.”
The system will also generate statistics around complaints, said O’Shea, responding to a question posed by Coun. Paul Raymond.
Mayor Ted Walker wanted to know if council members would be able to submit request on behalf of residents.
“If they want us to do it rather than them or if they don’t have a computer, how do you want us to handle that?” he asked. “If someone comes in with a complaint, is the information also going to be entered into the system?”
O’Shea said staff would be happy to take requests over the phone and create an account on residents’ behalf.
Alternatively, he added, if council wants to enter the complaint on the residents’ behalf, they can forward it to staff via email or share it over the phone.
The reason creating an account is important, O’Shea told MidlandToday, is that staff are trying to discourage anonymous requests.
“There is some kind of bar you need to participate in democracy,” he said. “If we had it anonymous, there’s risk that people would be able to file complaints against their neighbours.
“We want to be able to tie real issues to real people. It’s not just complaints, it’s request for service. We’re asking for a name and for some way to tie you to it so there’s security, so other people can’t sign in using your information.”
If the council member agrees the resident should remain anonymous, O’Shea said councillors can then enter the request under their own name.
“We’re very excited about this,” said Walker in a conversation with MidlandToday. “One of the complaints we were getting was that people would phone in and it would be a week or so before they got an answer. Due to volume, some calls were getting lost. This way, there will be a record and feedback.”