The City Council voted Friday to seek bids from companies to help design a 311 phone system that would allow residents to call one phone number to be connected to any city agency.
The proposal grew out of the concern that the vast majority of calls to the city's 911 system are not emergencies, delaying the response to urgent calls.
In addition to having a 311 system handle non-emergency police and fire calls, city officials want to hire a consultant to determine what other city services might be made available through the 311 system, and how the city could consolidate the large number of operators currently working for separate city departments.
"What we are doing is [improving] our ability to deliver services in a much more efficient, state-of-the-art manner," Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas said. "This will put the city of Los Angeles at the top tier of cities in the delivery of services."
The system is proposed to include an automated routing feature that will allow callers to select the service or department they need from a menu of choices.