Waitaki District implements portal

Oamaru Post Office

Waitaki District Council is the latest to implement the Simpli portal, moving from paper processing to 100% digital in just 3 months.

The scope is end-to-end, including everything from submitting applications, vetting, processing, scheduling, inspections, stamping, payments - even document management shifted from paper-based to digital.

The project team started implementing the portal and underlying software in late November and went live with pilot customers in February. This gave them a chance to test and prove the technology before introducing it into their operations on March 11th.

Programme Manager from Waitaki, Richard Maher, said it was in part due to having a really great project team that included key staff from the Building and IT teams, who all brought different skills and perspectives.

“The team set a vision statement about what we wanted to look like in the future. They looked at different options and determined which one aligned with the vision,” says Richard.

Richard says they had been hoping for a one stop shop where people could get help, put in applications, collaborate in one space, make payments and get help. Simpli has met their expectations.

“Simpli comes with a couple of key advantages. It brings councils in line with national initiatives. It makes us more consistent with other BCAs. It’s also integrated with back end systems such as the Go Get suite. “

Richard says the team love it and he’s also had good feedback from customers.

“My take away messages are the customers felt it was a fantastic initiative and probably overdue. They had been wanting it for quite a while and are very happy the council has dived right in and acted on it.”

The Mayor is also thrilled and a couple of councillors have given personal commendations about how thrilled and delighted they are that the council is pushing ahead to improve services.

From a personal perspective Richard thinks the network provides a lot of potential, that grows as more people start using it.

“For small to medium sized councils it’s very difficult to scale up to meet demand. We can’t hire more staff. The portal and underlying software help to give us that. Councils can put applications in through the portal and send them off to other people to assist, ensuring consistent processing and a common customer experience. It offers that kind of scalability. ”

He believes Simpli could go a long way and hopes everyone will consider it.