Student Fellowship

Building a Citizen Relations Platform to Improve Oversight and Transparency with Residents

Project Area:

Data-driven Decision-Making


Tshwane, South Africa

Reporting to:

Shared Services Group Head

The Challenge

The Mayor of Tshwane is building a culture of data transparency to drive resident satisfaction and engagement with the city and build trust in government. He is committed to improving the city’s customer relations management by developing systems that provide a clearer data-informed sense of citizen complaints, resolutions, and service delivery both for internal decision making and to communicate with residents. The city is also investing in new system capabilities to build an internal citizen relations dashboard and to identify a series of custom data reports to share with the community. Moreover, the city aims to empower a key set of stakeholders, the 212 councilors — who represent the citizens in wards and regions and are charged with municipal oversight and ward investments — to use the dashboard. The aspiration is to provide ward councilors consistent access to data they need to assess progress, monitor trends, allocate resources, respond to resident inquiries, and demonstrate data-informed service delivery to their residents. Ongoing data-related challenges that the city is addressing include equitable access to reporting, availability of disaggregated data for reliable analysis (at the ward and region levels), and the ability to conduct trends analyses.

The fellow working alongside Tshwane officials will build out a dashboard to help answer these key questions:

  • What kinds of customer relations data should be available to councilors to enable them to provide desired oversight and prioritize investments (resource allocation) in their wards?
  • What sort of data or reports on resolutions to customer complaints should be made available for presentation at Regional Councilor Forums (monthly public meetings)?
  • What is the appropriate dashboard functionality for councilors with different levels of data comfort?
  • How should councilors be empowered to use the data and platform to monitor the performance of teams within their wards?
  • What are the most effective citizen reporting protocols?

The fellow will engage with a series of government stakeholders, including councilors and those within the city’s Chief Information Office (which also houses IT), the Customer Care Center, and the Speaker’s Office.

What You’ll Do

The fellow will be expected to engage in several tasks that support creating a data dashboard prototype, which, after iterative feedback, the city will be able to deploy as part of its new system, including the following:

Analyze current customer relations data to:

  • Assess patterns, longitudinal trends, and/or relevant gaps
  • Assess existing reporting channels to expand and enhance citizen reporting
  • Develop ward and region data profiles to better understand the different geographic and demographic characteristics
  • Identify and map disaggregated patterns at the ward and regional levels

Conduct stakeholder interviews and summarize findings around specific councilor’s data interests, data comfort, preferred dashboard functionality, and profile characteristics. The fellow is expected to develop profiles capturing the breadth of characteristics across wards, but the focus of engagement via interviews will be limited to a few target councilors.

Develop dashboard prototypes and run preliminary reports for target councilors’ wards and regions, obtain feedback, and iterate.

Support prototyping, generating reports, and attendance at multiple Regional Councilor Forums.

What You’ll Bring

The fellow will be expected to possess the following skills:

  • Strong data analysis and storytelling Mapping (GIS)
  • Dashboard development (Microsoft-based)
  • Design thinking
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