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Where we've cut red tape

Cut Red Tape

Our commitment to cutting red tape is starting to show real differences for our citizens. Some of the solutions may seem simple, but have made a big impact to you and others who do business with The City of Calgary. Below are just a few of the many examples of where we have cut red tape.

See the full listing of projects implemented to-date.

Customers can now register for recreation programs where most convenient

Citizens were interested in registering for recreation programs when they were right at the facility. For example, when children received their report cards at the last swimming class, parents wanted to register them right then and there for the next level. This made sense because the instructors could answer specific questions about what level their child should be in and check for availability right on the spot. Only a few staff were trained to use the registration system, resulting in line-ups so customers would often go home and register at a later time online or by phone.

Recreation wanted to make the customer experience a more positive and meaningful one by adding more registration machines and training more staff. As a result, 50 employees were trained to process on-site registrations and are now able to assist customers right at the customer service desk.

The additional machines have also been used to support admissions, passes and afterschool program registration and entry. Overall, these machines have processed over 110,000 transactions reducing line-ups and improving customer experience.

Making the process for applying for building and development permits smoother

Customers can easily apply for permits and request inspections at the click of a button or by calling 311.

Customers can now book an appointment for building and development permits instead of waiting in line

Customers asked us to eliminate wait times and make it easier to apply for business and development permits. We implemented eAppointment, which now allows customers to book a set appointment time instead of coming down to City Hall and waiting in line. This can be used to apply for or request information on nine different permits and licences, ranging from development and homeowner permits to massage practitioner business requirements.

Counters have also been divided into four queues to better assist customers depending on the complexity of their permit application which has resulted in a significant reduction of "wait time" of about 26 minutes per customer.

Contractors can simply apply for and receive trade permits online

Don't want to head down to City Hall to apply for a trade permit? Now you don't need to. Customers can apply online, pay by credit card and receive permits online using Trade Permits Online.

Inspection bookings and inquiring about trade permits easy through 311

As a centralized point of contact and window into The City, people call 311 to conveniently find the information they are looking for. But before cutting red tape, when customers called to book an inspection, the phone operator had to transfer them to the Inspections Call Centre to book the inspection – resulting in the customer having to repeat the details of their inquiry multiple times. While this is not a huge issue, it certainly created frustration in having to take multiple steps to book an inspection. To solve this and improve the customer experience, 311 operators can now search directly with customers providing just a permit number and address. This means customers can call 311, 24/7, and easily request an inspection or inquire about their permit.

Providing resources to assist customers in completing their permit applications in one visit

There's a lot of detail involved in an application for a building and development permit and in the past if a customer didn’t have all the information required, they would have to go collect that information and then make another trip back to City Hall to complete the application. To make this easier for you, The City provides the resources so you can complete your application in one visit. For example, in some cases, multiple copies of the application form are required and if the customer did not have the right number of copies, they either had to find a photocopier at a business nearby or return at a later date. Now The City provides a photocopier onsite to allow customers to obtain the necessary number of copies for the application onsite. There is also a hard copy of the Land Use Bylaw and Alberta Building Code requirements onsite in the case that the customer needs to look up information pertaining to their permit application.

Streamlining business licences for multiple locations

Before cutting red tape, a business operating in multiple locations required a hardcopy of their business licence at each site. This cost the business $25 per site to obtain a copy of the licence to display at each location. Now,  multiple location businesses that operate with a unique business model and unable to post a licence can be issued a letter by the Chief Licence Inspector (eliminating the business owner having to purchase extra copies of the licence). Inspectors are now able to check the business licence number online and see that it’s applicable to all locations. In addition, citizens can now call 311 to confirm if a contractor has a valid business licence

311 Call Centre Improvements

The City's 311 online system makes it easy to request a broad range of City services from requesting a publication, to reporting a missed garbage or recycling collection, or requesting bus shelter maintenance. By having access to a number of service requests online, this makes it easier for the customer to get the support they are looking for instead of trying to find the appropriate business unit to contact directly. With The City’s commitment to customer convenience in mind, 311 has increased the number of service requests available online from 40 to more than 100.

When a customer calls 311, they can connect online or with a City employee at any time of day to request non-emergency City services through one easy to remember number. To improve efficiency, 311 has simplified various service requests to reduce the number of questions the caller is asked when this information is not required. This saves the caller and the call centre time per call and ensures that the pertinent information is collected in the shortest amount of time.

Customers can get real time updates on their Roads Service Requests through 311

When a customer submits a roads-related service request, these items now remain open in the system until the issue has been resolved. Customers can now track the progress of the issue in real time and see what has been done and when it will be completed. By providing an easy way for customers to stay in the loop, this has decreased escalation calls by 44 per cent. Furthermore, the new workflow process has reduced the time to close a service request from 25.1 days to 10.2 days.

Helping businesses get up and running as quickly as possible during Business Licence and Development Completion permit process to positively impact their bottom line

Before cutting red tape, businesses needed to wait until all aspects of the permit requirements were completed before they could open their business. Now the process provides greater flexibility in allowing businesses to open while completing permit requirements that are not related to life-safety considerations, such as landscaping. This also helps businesses such as tenants in malls or large buildings that fall under the property owner who’s directly applying for the development completion permit.

Partial Building Permits: Consolidated review processes and number of review cues for the release of partial building permits

As of October 2012, partial building permits are now issued by the same staff member who took in the application (no second queuing required). Also enables issuing a partial permit for single family home during this application.

Consolidated single and semi-detached building permits allowing customers to include fireplaces as part of a single construction permit (SCP). The single construction permit is inclusive of gas, plumbing, electrical, hvac and building components including fireplaces.

Initiated scanning and electronic documentation projects to ensure all permit and application documentation is available online

Before cutting red tape, customers would need to bring in anywhere from 15 to 30 pages plus for their permit application. This was cumbersome for customers and not very efficient as these large blueprints and other documentation were then physically transferred and in some cases copied between various areas of The City for approval. Now, customers can determine the most convenient method to provide the information, whether that’s electronically or in hard copy. If the information is provided in hard copy, City staff scan all documents to ensure it is all kept electronically and is available online if required in the future.

See full list of all issues, changes, outcomes and savings.