2 min read

Managing Local Government Remotely

By Michael Bonner

In our always-on, digital access to everything 24/7 culture, constituents and government employees alike have come to expect that their local government’s services mirror the consumer services they have become accustomed to in their everyday lives.

It would stand to reason to a constituent who banks online and orders everything from groceries to shoes online from the comfort of their living room, that they should expect the same convenience from their local government. After all, how efficient is it - both for constituents and government employees - to file paperwork in person at the clerk’s office?

Short answer. It’s not. For local governments who increasingly rely on accurate data to make critical decisions, the employees who gather that data and use it to distribute services, and the constituents who rely on those services - digital transformation is essential.


Now, as the Coronavirus spreads across the country and health officials increasingly recommend working from home as an effective method of social distancing, a top concern of city officials nation-wide is how to manage their city operations remotely. According to Axios, officials are scrambling to migrate documents to the cloud, get city staff set up with laptops, and figure out how to take care of city business — fixing potholes and processing parking tickets — if workers can't come into the office.

During normal operations, modern digital government management can give employees several hours in their day back to tackle other important tasks by eliminating cumbersome, inefficient tasks like manually transcribing written information into a spreadsheet, or by significantly cutting down on phone calls and walk-ins from constituents. It can generate revenue for governments by uncovering opportunities not obvious in a stack of paper or in single-use software programs, and it streamlines residents’ interactions with their government - whether they are reporting a concern, or filing for a construction permit.

With GovPilot, city and county employees are able to access their workflows from any location 24/7 in order to view and update critical records in real-time. By unifying all departments and data on one cloud-based platform, governments can provide their employees and constituents seamless collaboration and services - whether elected officials and employees are working from the office, the field, or the comfort of home.

When Elizabeth, New Jersey - a GovPilot client with a population of 130,215 people - transitioned from manual paper workflows to GovPilot’s cloud-based software it saw an 82% drop in the amount of time their employees spent on incoming calls from constituents thanks to automated, easy to use forms. Instead of physically standing in line or placing a phone call to city hall, residents now submit issues digitally through Elizabeth’s Report-a-Concern form directly on the city’s website or through the free GovAlert mobile app.

Prior to implementing GovPilot, Elizabeth employees manually searched physical file cabinets to retrieve documentation on the status of a complaint, violation, or work order, and constituents had to physically drop off paper forms at city hall. Today those forms are digital and the information they hold is easily accessed by employees with just a click. Should employees be asked to work from home during the Coronavirus outbreak, they’ll be able to do so safely without an issue, providing critical government services without an interruption to city services.

The coming weeks will likely reveal a lot about our society and the systems we often take for granted. No doubt there will be lessons learned and improvements to be made. If you are considering digital transformation for your local government as part of those improvements, we would love to show you how GovPilot can help. 


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Tags: Constituent Engagement, Government Efficiency, Customer Success, Constituent Experience, Blog