COQUITLAM, B.C., Mar. 2, 2021 – Coquitlam continued to cut red tape and find ways to work more efficiently in 2020, despite – and in some cases, because of – the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a progress report to Council Monday, the staff Business Improvement Committee noted that the urgent demand for virtual solutions in 2020 accelerated improvements to the City’s online services – a top priority for the City.
Established in 2010, the committee tracks and analyzes efforts across the City to streamline processes, remove bureaucratic roadblocks and find more efficient, effective and user-friendly ways to deliver services.
Cutting a Decade of Red Tape
The committee has catalogued over 500 City initiatives during its lifespan, including these in 2020:
- Rolling out remote work technology to most City staff;
- Increasing electronic payment and document-sharing options for the public, boosting online transactions by 13 per cent in 2020;
- Upgrading software, including adding online appointment booking to the recreation platform and improving Coquitlam Fire/Rescue’s call-out and scheduling software;
- Moving services online, including a new online job applicant tracking system, paperless payroll for some Parks divisions, RCMP E-ticketing and public online reporting of some crimes;
- Completing precursor work for an upgrade to the Tax Prepayment Plan in 2022; and
- Updating the City’s cyber security program.
Working Differently and More Effectively
Part of the committee’s work is an ever-growing Stop Doing List of activities that can be cut, scaled back or changed because they are no longer required or were replaced by more efficient alternatives.
A total of 65 items were added to the list in 2020, up from 53 the year before, resulting in simplified processes, faster service and cost savings for the public and City.
In terms of development processes, for example, the City began allowing digital signatures for some documents, launched remote building inspections via online video, expanded the use of digital Engineer seals to more quickly finalize building permits, and removed requirements for paper copies of development and building permit applications and for development drawing re submissions.
Improved technology also played a role in many other items on the list. For example, RCMP officers no longer need to file paper tickets, separate GPS contracts were dropped in favour of cell technology, administrative staff recruitment tests are now held online instead of in person, and a new electronic process has made watermain flushing more efficient.
Plans for 2021
The committee’s 2021 work plan, approved by Council Monday, has a strong focus on technology and includes:
- Modernizing the City’s telephone hardware;
- Creating an online portal for development applications;
- Continuing to expand online payments;
- Integrating new software for Engineering and Public Works field staff; and
- Launching an Open Data Portal, providing public access to a wide variety of City documents online.
Council Also Receives Annual Performance Report for 2020
In December of each year, Council establishes an annual Business Plan to guide and focus the City’s overall work plan throughout the year. On Monday, Council-in-Committee received the 2020 Corporate Performance Dashboard, which provides an overview of the City’s annual achievements, including key performance indicators and a list of major accomplishments. The report is available at www.coquitlam.ca/businessplan.
Manager, Corporate Planning
City of Coquitlam