4 months ago by Timothy Cox
A Code enforcement agency was too drowned in paperwork to be efficient. When complaints kept surging, astonishingly, they did find a blessing in disguise: Mobile form app solution. From automation to faster responses, the agency turned the tables with a simple mobile app. Read how!
Code Enforcement Agency & The Long List of Duties
When asked who’s Mr Wayne Terry, this guy replies, “He’s the one who routinely drives around the neighbourhood and issues tickets to people here.”
That’s one summary of Mr Wayne’s job with local govt as a code enforcement officer. But is code enforcement all about issuing notices & tickets? No - There’s a lot more to it!
Conducting routine inspection, answering citizen queries, ensuring community standards, adhering to quality compliance, gathering evidence, collecting data, making reports, informing higher authorities, updating stakeholders, maintaining the database, and more.
All of the aforementioned duties (not limited to though) fall under the ambit of the code enforcement officer. You can imagine that it’s not that easy of a job after all.
Paper-based Process & the Perils
The job gets painfully tedious when the processes are manual and paper-based since it involves the following:
Paper-based processes are unquestionably time-consuming & costly, and moreover, are highly vulnerable to manual errors. Many counties & cities in the United States have high turnaround & response times - this takes a toll on service delivery.
Code Enforcement App as a Solution
Interestingly, there’s a solution for code enforcement agencies & local govt bodies. No, you neither need to spend millions of bucks nor even buy complex software/hardware to deploy this solution.
All you need is a mobile device (tablet or smartphone). Statista says the mobile phone penetration in the United States stands at 82.5% in 2019. It’s safer to assume that everyone owns at least one device.
A simple mobile app can empower the code enforcement officers to fill up forms digitally on their mobile devices. This one shrewd move alone can counter every drawback of the paper forms.
Let’s discover how Mr Wayne as a code enforcement officer, experience change after the introduction of a mobile app solution.
Mobile Form App that Goes Beyond Data Collection
One fine day, Mr Wayne receives a notification on his mobile app saying there’s a code violation complaint registered, and he’s assigned with the case/complaint.
He leaves for investigation immediately & reaches the violation site.
Earlier, there was no mechanism as such. The officer was informed verbally, after which the physical copy of the complaint had to be printed from the office and carried to the site.
Now, the officer gets a copy of the complaint on his app. He doesn’t need to travel back to the office for any physical copy.
On arriving at the violation site, he finds that a restaurant owner has encroached area of the sidewalk with some of the restaurant’s broken furniture.
Collecting Rich, Credible & Quality Data
The officer starts recording details on the mobile form. He captures the images of the sidewalk and annotates them. All these fields are included in the same mobile form.
(Images captured not just enhance the data authenticity, but also can be used as evidence in court if needed at all.)
Mr Wayne interacts with the restaurant owner and even records his feedback. The mobile form comes along with an audio/video record feature. So this time, the officer could save a lot of time. All he had to do was tap a button on the form.
Back then, he wrote long responses on paper forms which consumed a lot of time.
Reduced Efforts with Intelligent Mobile Form App Feature
Things have changed since mobile forms require minimum efforts in data capture. Advanced logic embedded in the form makes irrelevant questions disappear based on the previous response in the form.
Now, he chooses from a range of choices available, instead of typing everything.
Long forms broken into shorter subforms make navigation & form-filling a smooth experience for Mr Wayne.
Restaurant owner’s signature on the mobile form made the collected data more credible.
He taps the ‘location field’ to capture the live location & time. This feature can help the authorities to verify the location & time of the investigation (in case of dispute).
After completing the procedures in a couple of minutes, the officer prints the copy of a notice of violation through a portable printer (integrated with the app). The notice is handed out to the restaurant owner.
Real-time Insights, Notifications, & Task-Schedule Feature
When the owner agrees to fix up the violation in the next 7 days, the officer schedules the follow-up investigation for a given date on the app. A reminder is automatically set for the date.
That’s not all. Some actions have triggered already.
As soon as the form is submitted, the data gets shared in real-time with the office executives and other authorities. Data can be accessed on the desktops and reviewed in real-time.
With a paper-based system, this was not quite possible. Mr Wayne submitted all the paper forms and documents by the end of the day. These forms were reviewed the next day.
But, mobile forms evolved this scenario entirely. The real-time sharing of information kept all the necessary stakeholders informed.
Most of his time was utilized in admin-related work, almost 50% of his time.
Integration, Auto-Reports & Analytics with Mobile Form App
Now, officer Wayne isn’t required to enter the data into systems manually. As the app integrates with different platforms, the data export happens with a few clicks.
He was also freed up from the report-making business. He’s no longer required to make reports all by himself. The mobile app generates reports automatically after each record submit.
A customized template that the officer chose for all his reports gets applied by default - this ensures a good uniformity in the reports created.
All the reports in PDF format are automatically sent through the emails without any kind of manual intervention (destination email id set already).
He deploys analytics to gain actionable insights. But, he doesn’t have to prepare anything manually. The inbuilt intelligent dashboard offers critical inputs with a few clicks.
In fact, Mr Wayne presents his data in graphical forms and charts. He makes sure that he shares the same with his senior authorities (all this without investing any major efforts).
Now that a lot of officer’s time is saved. He spends quality time on educating the citizens about the local issues and raising community standards, and ensuring the compliance of codes.
BTW, the follow-up investigation happened a week late. The restaurant owner cleared up the mess. The case was immediately closed and the record was updated.
What more, the citizen who raised the complaint was notified with the update that the issue has been resolved.
The code enforcement agency completes more investigations and resolves the issues of violation in lower turnaround time.
Whenever a complaint is registered, the task is allocated automatically to the officer based on his/her availability.
The agency analyzes the data location-wise and pulls out performance reports whenever needed.
Improved Response-Time & Service Delivery
Tracking the status of any case/complaint is trouble-free now. Agency is relieved of bottlenecks, and decision-making is now accelerated like never before.
All these factors combined lead to phenomenal service delivery and improved satisfaction levels of citizens. Keeping the stakeholders informed built good confidence in the system.
The bonus? Processes are streamlined today. Automation is realized in true sense without even investing too much effort, time, and more importantly - money.
As a matter of fact, the agency saves a lot of money that was initially spent on paper, print, and space for paper storage. The office expenses have been brought down by 16%.
Since officers aren’t required to travel back to the office with paper forms, the fuel expenses are cut down marginally.
More about the mobile solution:
There are platforms that include a few of the features mentioned above. But if you are looking for all of those powerful features in one app - then, Axonator is the one-stop-shop that will meet your requirements.
Government bodies around the world rely on Axonator mobile solution for data collection, inspection, code enforcement, process automation, field service & fleet management, and more.
(Read how field data collection & asset management in the public sector is changing with the mobility solutions).
Benefits that your agency/business/govt could achieve with Axonator mobile solution:
Axonator is available at rock-bottom prices. The prices wouldn’t certainly freeze you.
Download a code enforcement app from Axonator library - or create one under 10 minutes.
Use our online platform to create a mobile form app just by drag & drop. It doesn’t need any coding or technical expertise.
Looking for a custom-built powerful app? Send us your requirements at firstname.lastname@example.org