• Posted On: February 24, 2015

Not all code enforcement processes are created equal, but some certainly perform better than others, and nearly all face similar challenges. Last summer, a grand jury criticized Shasta County California’s code enforcement process, finding many flaws, including a lack of timeliness in the application process, which lead to a large backlog of cases.

As of March 2014, the county had more than 1,700 building and land use code violations, nearly a third of which were a decade old. A jury member said they found the county had no specific workforce management steps in place to assist them in working through the cases. Due to this lack of management, there was also no follow-up process, which could explain why some cases had been sitting in the in-box for a decade.

Another of the problems the jury identified relates to the county’s permit tracking system, which didn’t provide enough information for government workers to clearly understand what the issue was with cases they were presented. When they couldn’t get to the bottom of a suspected violation, it simply remained unresolved. Another issue the county faced is that the board of supervisors had no oversight of the enforcement process and never received written reports on staff activities, leading to an accountability problem.

The issues Shasta County is trying to resolve can be assisted with the right code enforcement software. With businesses, customer relationship management software gives entire organizations visibility into the contact information and relationship management processes of every client and prospective client. Similarly, with government work processes, there is software designed to keep excellent track of cases by using GIS information and help from community members through mobile applications.

Most code enforcement officers who have a backlog of cases are not equipped with the right mobile solution to assist them. Instead, they’re working up their reports with pen and paper and re-entering the information onto a spreadsheet where it gets lost in the shuffle. There is no automation in a situation like this.

Code enforcement software comes equipped with an abundance of automated processes that allow officers to work from the field and upload information that is sent to appropriate people, automatically. These are workers who shouldn’t have to return to the office to pull up information on properties – this is information that should be accessible to their mobile devices while they work in the field. Furthermore, they should be able to open new cases and close old ones while in the field – from their mobile device, which is equipped with access to code enforcement software.

Gone are the days of sticking push pins in maps back at headquarters and going to the file room to pull out reams of paperwork on various code violations. The most efficient governments are equipped with mobile solutions that put the power of technology to good use. Comcate, a company built by former government workers and software engineers, offers code enforcement software that helps organizations wipe out backlogged cases and stay current.

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