The coastal community of North Kingstown, Rhode Island, is using technology to create an open, transparent local government.
As part of that effort, the town government selected NAVEX Global’s Hotline & EthicsPoint case management software to provide a safe opportunity for citizens to anonymously communicate their concerns or inquiries with elected officials.
Focus on Responsive Government
Starting several years ago, there was a groundswell in the community for more information and government accountability, says Michael Embury, Town Manager. In response, Michael began working with Jason Albuquerque, Director of Technology, to find ways to promote open government through technology.
In particular, the town government recognized the need for citizens to have the ability to report problems or concerns anonymously. At the recommendation of a state auditor and outside consultants, the town began looking for a third-party system, Michael says.
“People want safeguards, information and checks and balances. We were looking for a system that would make it safe and easy for citizens to report concerns.”
The Ideal Solution: NAVEX Global’s Ethicspoint™ Hotline & Case Management
“We’re quietly taking a leadership role. People have noticed what we’re doing and are now pushing for more openness in their own communities. We are creating trust in government, and the feedback from members of our community is that they love the transparency.” - Michael Embury, Town Manager
After researching various solutions, the town’s audit committee chose NAVEX Global’s Hotline and EthicsPoint case management and arranged for Michael and Jason participate in a web demonstration. They immediately knew they had found the right system for North Kingstown.
During the implementation, Jason worked with NAVEX Global’s Implementation Services team to customize the system. Michael, along with the town council and auditors, added specific details to ensure that the system matched North Kingstown’s needs. As Jason puts it, “The system is ideal for us. The case management structure is intricate and comprehensive; we can analyze the data, and there are no administrative time requirements on our side.”
Now, any citizen who wants to report a concern, complaint or inquiry regarding the town government or school district is able to do so anonymously and confidentially. It is a valuable resource in allowing citizens to keep their government accountable, says Michael.
As Jason puts it, “The system is ideal for us. The case management structure is intricate and comprehensive; we can analyze the data, and there are no administrative time requirements on our side.”
Michael also appreciates North Kingstown citizens’ insistence on open government affairs; he continued, “NAVEX Global’s system fits our vision. We have a civic-minded population that wants to know about everything, so we try to be as open as possible.”
So far, Michael believes people are comfortable with what the government is doing and how things are being done. Citizens know that if something comes up, it can be reported anonymously and answered in a timely, structured manner. The increased trust in government is becoming apparent. “I talk to people who are impressed with the work we’ve done toward openness. And I’ve bragged a little bit,” he finished.
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