Driving transparency in the special event permitting process

Part I: How automated platforms enhance communication-sharing, collaboration and serving the needs of multiple stakeholders throughout the permitting lifecycle

Special event permits play an important role in managing public safety, allowing cities to better coordinate inter-agency resources and making sure event organizers are aware of their risks and responsibilities. Whether stakeholders feel the process is transparent often depends on who you ask and when. True transparency implies addressing the information needs of all stakeholders throughout the entire permit lifecycle.

Eproval drives transparency in the special event permitting process

Multiple stakeholders, unique needs
Applicants, administrators, reviewers and even the general public, require different information at different points in the permitting lifecycle. Often these needs must be served concurrently.

In the early stages, applicants need information on their risks and responsibilities, guidance on how to accurately complete forms and what public venues are available. Later, they’ll require updates on their application status, permitting fees and how to book space for next year.

Administrators need critical information in the early stages to determine whether to issue a permit and what public resources will be required to support the event. But for administrators, the process does not stop once a permit has been issued. Site inspections, post-event surveys and access to permitting records will continue even after the event has concluded. Financial information which is often not available until the event is over, is also needed to calculate costs and determine net economic impact.

Reviewers also have their own set of needs. They require detailed information upon which to base their decisions and schedule appropriate resources. Since many decisions have dependencies on other public agencies such as police, fire, transportation, health and safety among others, they need to be able to exchange information in real-time. Later, they’ll want to know whether organizers followed codes, held a safe event and whether organizers are a safe bet for future events.

The needs of the general public are much more basic. They need to be informed of upcoming events, feel confident that adequate steps have been taken to ensure safety, where to buy tickets, where to park and where to find washrooms.

The permitting lifecycle has many distinct phases with different needs for stakeholder at different stages. It is simply not reasonable to expect manual processes to proactively keep all stakeholders informed throughout the permitting lifecycle. Thankfully, automation can proactively coordinate real-time information-sharing for multiple stakeholders with multiple needs over the entire permitting lifecycle. For each stakeholder at each stage there are ways an automated platform can facilitate enhanced information-sharing.

Automated permitting platforms drive enhanced transparency
Often cities struggle to find effective methods to drive transparency, however, automated permitting platforms move well beyond keeping stakeholders informed and live squarely in the realm of proactive communication.

“Since safety is at the core of special event permitting it is therefore critical to driving transparency throughout the end-to-end permit lifecycle,” said Jonathan Thompson, Managing Director of Eproval. “Transparency helps applicants better understand their risks and responsibilities, cities to better coordinate resources – whether that be law enforcement, fire prevention, right-of-way, lane closures or any number of public resources. A transparent process is always in the public interest. Eproval is leading the way in taking transparency to a new level.”

How Eproval serves the needs of applicants
Eproval’s automated platform guides event organizers through the applications process, dynamically expanding or collapsing forms, providing tips and making applicants aware of their responsibilities. Eproval’s 2-Phase application allows event organizers to book space ahead of filing a special event application. After the application has been submitted, applicants can login to the platform at any time from any location and through a color-coded user-interface see where their application is in the approval process. If permitting fees are due they can be paid online. Notifications will let them know If further information is required such as tent placement, laneways or open flame. Eproval’s process adds transparency to applicants in ways not possible with paper-based processes.

Eproval serves the needs of applicants and reviewers alike

Adding transparency for administrators
Eproval adds unprecedented transparency for administrators by allowing them to see the big picture. Access to all applications and shared calendars provide real-time updates. Powerful reports can be generated on detailed data or summaries including permits, invoices, communication logs and transactions. These reports can be exported for use on open platforms, or used to create internal memos or to update city managers, elected officials or to satisfy public records requests. Eproval also features workflows for site inspections, surveys and post-event follow-up that provides valuable information on what happened during the event. Public calendars can be used to inform citizens of event details.

Reviewers have the data they need to make informed decisions
Reviewers have the ability to directly collaborate and communicate with other public agency staff for any decisions that may be dependent on another agency. For instance, if a tent placement will require a lane closure that impacts police or fire access, reviewers at each agency can discuss the impacts before making a final decision. After a permit has been issued, police or fire may wish to conduct a site inspection to ensure that site security or fire codes are being followed. After the event has concluded a survey can be conducted to establish whether event organizers complied with requirements for fire lanes, placement of fire extinguishers or open flame.

Eproval provides Reviewers the data they need to make informed decisions

Serving the needs of all stakeholders throughout the entire permit lifecycle
Automated platforms identify and coordinate the information needs of different stakeholders at different stages in the permitting lifecycle. By automating manual processes, it is possible to move from highly reactive, sequential communication to a place of proactive transparency that serves the needs of all stakeholders – providing the information they need when they need it. In our next article (Part II) we will discuss specific ways automated platforms can help public agencies maintain transparency throughout the permitting lifecycle with post-submission workflows such as safety reviews, inspections and post-event surveys.

To see how Eproval drives transparency across the entire special event permitting lifecycle please schedule a demo.

Eproval’s cloud-based platform simplifies the complexity of Special Event Permitting or any multi-applicant/reviewer process including grant applications, film permits and more. Eproval’s Customer Success team partners with cities to ensure best practices, rapid implementation and projects are on-time and within-budget. Flexible and customizable workflows are easily updated in real-time freeing IT departments to focus on other critical infrastructure. Check us out!

Jonathan Thompson,
Managing Director
jonathan @ eproval.com


Your special event permitting platform should:

  1. Offer transparency across the permitting lifecycle
  2. Move communication from reactive, sequential, to proactive concurrent
  3. Help cities coordinate inter-agency resources
  4. Make event organizers aware of their risks and responsibilities
  5. Help guide applicants through the application process
  6. Address the information needs of all stakeholders
  7. Provide visual cues that help users quickly see their application status
  8. Provide reports and exportable data to satisfy information requests
  9. Provide access at any time to invoices and transaction data
  10. All for inspections, post-event surveys and assessments of event safety