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Report street lighting failure - 2015 (M)

Why important

This task involves reporting an important problem to the council. From the resident’s point of view street lighting failures may cause concerns about personal safety as well as accidents. From the council’s point of view it wastes money. It is particularly useful that outages can be reported from a mobile device as soon as they are noticed.


Just less than half of councils (44%) pass this relatively straightforward task.


All shire counties and single-tier councils (206 councils in all).

Primary route for this task

We assessed this task primarily using a Google search.

Headline results


Achieved standard

The standard
  • At least 10 questions from 17 answered 'Yes'
  • Question M29 must be answered 'Yes'
  • Question M41 must be 'No' (content must not be out of date)
  • Promotion of task rated satisfactory or very good
  • Customer journey rated satisfactory or very good

How effectively is this council promoting this as a task?

Overall, how do you rate the journey plus task completion?

  • Very good
  • Satisfactory
  • Poor
  • No information


NB Question highlighted in green is an ‘essential question’ that must be answered correctly for the council to meet the standard for this task

Percentage answered correctly
Questions to be answered 'Yes'
M28 Does a Google search lead me to the task 98%
M29 Can I report a street fault online? 90%
M30 Is there a choice of options to indicate precise location (map, postcode, street, nearby property, lamp post number?) 66%
M31 Can I report without having to register first? 88%
M32 Is my fault report acknowledged? 73%
M33 Am I told what action to expect? 43%
M34 Am I told what to do if the fault is causing an immediate danger? 46%
M35 Does the home page lead me directly to the task? 78%
M36 Does a site search for the task return the correct result listed in the first five results? 63%
M37 Does the service landing page provide a prominent link that takes me directly to this task? 75%
M38 Was the online report form mobile-friendly? 0%
M39 In undertaking this task did you encounter any errors that seriously affected the user experience? 27%
M40 Was this task offered completely on either a mobile site or with a responsive display? 37%
M42 Have you received an email acknowledging receipt of your street light fault notification? 44%
M43 Does the email provide you with a reference number and/or advise you to retain it for your records? 32%
M44 Does the email inform you what will happen next? 13%
M45 Does the email confirm the information you have submitted, either as text in the email or an attachment? 27%
Out of date information, answered 'No'
M41 Did you come across any out-of-date information about this task? 95%
How effectively is this council promoting this as a task? Average score (0-3)
M47 How effectively is this council promoting this as a task? 2.1
Overall, how do you rate the journey plus task completion? Average score (0-3)
M48 Overall, how do you rate the journey plus task completion? 1.7

Task report

Good practice

Finding the task

  • Find the task by entering ‘council name’ street light into Google (or other search engine).
  • Provide a direct link from the highways, roads and streets, travel and transport landing pages to a brief service description that highlights the importance of swift reporting of faults.
  • Take visitors to the same page from any site search or A to Z entry.
  • Ensure that searches for commonly used terms such as ‘street lights’, ‘broken street light’, ‘faulty street light’, ‘light’ return results for reporting a problem with a street light.
  • If your site promotes, ‘Apply, Pay, Report’ navigation, ensure that street lighting appears in any ‘Report it’ list.
  • In two-tier areas, signpost the task from the district council site.
  • As reporting faults with street lighting is an ideal council service to undertake on a smartphone, ensure that the task can be easily found on a mobile-friendly home page or provide a service-related app.
  • If providing a service-related app, present this early in the route to completing the task.
  • If feasible to do so, provide details of ‘active’ street light reports so that customers can see at a glance whether someone else has already reported the problem.

Completing the task

  • Provide guidance about what should be done if the customer considers the fault to be causing an immediate danger.
  • Provide a brief description that highlights the risk of faulty street lights and describes how a report should be made, e.g. link to an online form.
  • Refer to the advantage to the council of reporting online.
  • Only ask for minimal personal details in order to record the report. It should not normally be necessary to request the address of the person reporting the fault.
  • Allow reports to be made anonymously if the customer prefers not to give personal details.
  • Offer the option of giving an email address so that an update can be sent to the customer, but make it clear that this is not necessary in order to complete the report.
  • Provide different options for identifying the location of the faulty street light. As it is unlikely that the street light’s postcode will be known, location ought to be identifiable by street name plus a free text field that enables the customer to provide further details so that council workers can more easily find this in daylight, e.g. ‘opposite the post office’, ‘opposite no 83’.
  • If offering identification from a mapping system, do not offer this as the initial or only option. Some mapping services, particularly when displayed on a smartphone, are difficult to use and are better offered as an alternative or additional function for those customers who can cope with them.
  • On a smartphone, offer to record the current phone location, but this should not be made automatic, as the report may be made away from the fault location.
  • If you do not have an app or mobile-friendly website, consider promoting a free proprietary app such a ‘Fix My Street’.
  • If you are just starting to ‘think mobile’, make reporting faulty street lighting one of the first tasks that you implement.
  • When a report is submitted, display an acknowledgement page advising customers what will happen next, or how they might follow up the report at a later date if necessary.
  • If the request has automatically been recorded in your CRM system, provide a reference number that may be quoted in the event of a follow-up by the customer.
  • Provide a copy of the initial report details for reference.
  • Finally, if you have a mobile app for reporting faulty street lighting, promote its availability on the acknowledgement page.

Poor practice

  • The site asks for a mandatory postcode to locate the street light, because it is unlikely that this would be known, even by people who live close by.
  • The site asks for a mandatory street light number, as this is also unlikely to be known by the customer making the report. 
  • The site requires the user to pinpoint the location of the light using a map intended for desktop use.
  • Mobile users cannot click to drop a pin. 
  • The site requires a visitor to register with the  website in order to submit a report. Even worse, the site does not explain the benefits of registration. 
  • It is not possible to make an anonymous report.  

Reviewer's tip

It was all too common for this task to rely on map functions, which were often troublesome on smaller mobile devices. Some failed to work at all, excluding a growing number of users by making it impossible for them to complete the task. The best experiences were quick and simple, with a minimal amount of data entry required and clear instructions presented at the right time to tell the user everything they need to know.

Sites that we recommend

East Renfrewshire
Simple form, worked well on mobile

I was really impressed by this. Very easy to find and to complete, particularly if you did it anonymously

Milton Keynes
On the form I had to select the street light on a map. Brilliant, was even very mobile friendly, but I couldn’t be sure that the lamp I wanted to report had been selected. But, overall, very good

North Lanarkshire
Simple form, easy to use on mobile. Pity they don’t say what will happen next

Easy to complete a report and offered free text, light number or location on a map. Very swift acknowledgment email

Nottingham City
Not told what action will be taken but given a fault report number which can be used on the interactive mapping system to report progress. Immediately sent an acknowledgment email detailing the fault report and saying it has been ‘scheduled for repair’. This report process was done very well. Gave confidence that action would be taken.

South Lanarkshire
The only criticism is that the form is over a number of screens. The wait time for the next screen makes it feel slow.

Wigan MBC
One of the simplest and most straightforward experiences that I have had so far.



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