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The importance of collaboration and transparency in the special event permitting process


In today’s Permitting Dispatch we discuss the importance of collaboration and transparency in the permitting process. Specifically, we deal with how a cloud-based solution can drive more informed decisions and act as a central repository for permitting records. For inspiration, we looked to the City of Norwalk, Connecticut that recently implemented Eproval, a cloud-based e-permitting solution.

Mayor Harry W. Rilling explains the rationale for what Norwalk was attempting to address with their e-permitting project.

“We grant hundreds of permits every year, and we want to make this process as simple and convenient as possible. One of my major priorities is moving more systems online to improve efficiency and transparency, and help remove significant amounts of paper from a manual process.”

Before the launch of the new online system, residents and event organizers would have to visit multiple city departments, and in some cases, multiple city buildings, to have a permit reviewed and approved. This proved to be a major inconvenience for volunteer organizers.

An effective e-permitting solution will improve collaboration between city administrators and local departments such as police, fire, engineering and sanitation. According to an Eproval survey of its customers, prior to implementing the online platform, 65% of applications had gaps in communication with other departments and agencies. But with a cloud-based solution what cities generally find is that real-time visibility into application status facilitates timely follow-through on approvals.

Eproval drives enhanced engagement for those in the approval chain by coordinating online collaboration between city administrators and local government departments (police, fire, engineering and sanitation) with real-time alerts. Eproval drives enhanced communication by replacing memos with alerts and real-time visibility into the status of approved and pending permit applications.

A cloud-based solution can assist with inter-departmental collaboration and act as a central repository of information that is accessible to all reviewers and approvers and helps applicants stay informed on the status of their permit. It is available from any computer or device at anytime and anywhere.

Norwalk’s experience has been that the platform is easy to use and acts as a centralized archive for all special event permit applications and approvals. Because the platform is cloud-based it is available from any computer or device at anytime and anywhere, even at the event itself. Applicants and event organizers can check the status of their permit online in real time, and the entire process can be conducted remotely. The new system allows Norwalk to enforce their policy that all applications are received at least 60 days in advance of the event which allows time for other boards, commissions and committees to meet and approve an application. Additionally, email and interactions for all roles are coordinated and centrally stored in one platform.

Said Mayor Rilling, “Our new online system is a real win for the community.”

Eproval is a cloud-based solution developed in response to the specific needs of special event permitting offices. Large competing solutions were found to be workarounds that did not offer the same transparency, engagement, extendibility, scalability, compliance and legal auditing capabilities. Eproval was found to be nimble and able to stay ahead of the curve by understanding and developing in direct response to city needs. That’s why 70% of clients have sole-sourced Eproval for their special event permitting needs.

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