311 Celebrates 15 Years of Citizen Services

Today is a special day for The City of Calgary as 311 celebrates 15 years of providing citizen services. It was 15 years ago that The City launched its leading edge 311 Operation Centre on May 18, 2005 – the first municipality in Canada to do so.

Since that time, 311 staff have proudly responded to more than 16 million calls from Calgarians requesting information and services 24/7 – 365 days a year. There is always a live person available to have a conversation, or a choice of connecting through the web or mobile app.

The 311 Operations Centre has also been instrumental supporting Citizens during natural disasters including the 100-year flood, fires, snow storms, wind storms and now even a pandemic. This year, since March 6, 311 has received 16,799 COVID-19 calls and 11,041 CFD – Fire Truck Birthday booking requests.

The 311 Operation Centre makes it easy for Citizens to get information, answers to questions, or request service work. Before the launch of 311, The City had more than 500 numbers that were published in the phone book - it was up to citizens to determine which number to call for help, and callers were often rerouted many times before reaching the right person.

The 311 Operations Centre is now the primary customer service touchpoint with Citizens, and through it, 311 staff process service work and dispatch the work to crews throughout the city. When a Citizen calls 311, the request is entered into a database which determines the appropriate work crew to action the request. The work is dispatched through the system immediately after the Citizen hangs up with 311 to work crews in the field through mobile devices, which creates savings on gas, mileage and staff hours.

Clarke Bellamy, Manager of the 311 Operations Centre says says 311 is more than just a phone number.

"You can have a live conversation with a 311 agent any time of day or night," said Bellamy. "We have also placed our high-volume service requests online and have introduced a 311 Calgary App for Citizens to report concerns directly from their Android and iPhone devices, where they can take photos of the concern and track the service request to conclusion.” More recently, 311 data has been posted on live maps on so citizens can see service requests in near real time along with status updates.

“City employees both past and present have helped shaped 311 into what it is today. I count myself lucky to have been a part of this launch from Day One and have seen the commitment of many City employees to continually evolve and enhance 311 services to meet the needs of our Citizens. Our strength is in our 311 team and our extended family across The Corporation who both support us and respond to citizens to deliver the quality service they expect. I am very proud to work with an amazing team of public servants at The City,” said Bellamy.

Paul Taylor, Acting Director of Customer Service and Communications proudly says: “All these initiatives have won awards from the province and we have even received international recognition for excellence in North America."

Calgarians have clearly embraced 311 - as reflected through The City’s Annual Citizen Satisfaction survey where 93 per cent of citizens indicate they are satisfied with the service.

Through wind, rain, snow, flood, fire and even a pandemic, 311 has been there for Calgarians and continues to take pride in providing citizen services.