The 311 Implementation Plan recommends creating a Citywide 311 Program that provides a first-stop for community questions and requests, whether someone is contacting the City online, over the phone, or in-person.
The 311 Program’s customer service staff will be cross-trained to provide information about multiple bureaus. They will provide information and referral services for all bureaus and will build capacity to intake and resolve service requests for other programs over time.
Staff will resolve less complicated requests for:
Staff will refer customers to specialized bureau staff for more complicated, multi-step, or confidential requests.
The 311 Model
Hundreds of U.S. cities use 311 systems to provide residents with convenient access to government information and services. 311 began as a phone-based service, but modern systems use a variety of phone, online, walk-in, app, text, email, web chat, social media, and voice formats. 311 would complement Bureau customer service and operate in partnership with 911 & 211 in Portland.
While over half of residents think the City is doing a good job providing services, 1 in 3 say that its difficult to get information from the City. This difficulty is more pronounced for residents who have a disability, do not speak English well, or have limited internet access.
Because of the City’s dispersed approach to customer service, decision-makers lack consistent data and information about community interests and needs.
Portland residents would like to see the City create a single contact phone number and a more unified and easily searchable website to improve their access to City services.
Portlanders should not have to understand the City’s form of government to access City information and services. Portlanders can easily and effectively access City information and services, regardless of language, ability or resources. They are empowered to contact their government. They get accurate answers quickly and easily, and feel confident that their needs and voices are being heard and considered.
City employees use a service-first approach in their interactions with community members and are empowered to provide high quality customer service.
City leaders have timely information about community issues and desires and can more effectively and efficiently address community needs.
A Citywide 311 Program could:
- Improve community access to City services, while creating more equitable experiences and outcomes for under-represented community members.
- Reduce the number of non-emergency calls to 911, freeing up 911 call-taker capacity for emergencies.
- Serve as a resource for City employees and provide benefits for Bureaus citywide.
This Plan recommends a 4-year Implementation Strategy that builds a strong operational foundation while expanding customer service formats and functions.