Enterprise Automation Enables Effective Citizen Engagement

Long waits, confusion, and red tape are images that come to mind when dealing with many government agencies but with new technologies and enhanced automation, these stereotypes will soon disappear. By advocating and adopting web and mobile technology, government agencies are improving public service through increased access and transparency.

Unbeknownst to the average citizen,  the regulatory process of issuing permits and licenses can be extremely complex and layered.  Historically, most government agencies have required paperwork to be filled out on premise or delivered via mail through a courier. Subsequently, the completed application would pass through dozens (if not hundreds) of checks in order to meet required regulatory standards and conditions. This process often involves a multitude of departments and individuals each of whom are operating on disparate databases, and/or have separate “forms” for each department, with no central process workflow. Because of this, agencies end up wasting significant amounts of time and introduce significant errors – not to mention it may be weeks before the applicant hears back from the agency.

Citizen Engagement

This scenario was typical to the licensing and permitting process in Charleston County, South Carolina. To help manage the process more efficiently and improve citizen engagement, the county implemented the EnerGov 9 enterprise government software platform (Land Management and Licensing & Regulatory Suites) thereby enabling constituents to perform a variety of tasks from the convenience of their home or on the go — all managed within one centralized enterprise database that help the agency run smarter and more efficient.

Through an easy-to-use citizen access website, customers and contractors can pay for, apply for, and monitor the status of permits in addition to paying for and renewing licenses (over 13 billion dollars of gross reported revenues) . Other services include scheduling, searching and cancelling inspections and submitting citizen requests.

Within the first 10 months of deployment, the county issued over 44,000 permits and processed over 8,000 plan reviews, saving time and money for applicants working with the agency. By centralizing data, improving cross-departmental collaboration, and enforcing regulatory workflow, the county is able to process applications more quickly and accurately. Furthermore, within the first six months of deployment, the county collected over $150,000 in revenue that had slipped through the cracks under the previous software system.

Charleston County is a prime example of how, through investments in automation, government agencies can better connect with citizens and increase efficiencies within the permitting and licensing process.

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