The way particular local governments organize their departments may vary, but all governments need to fulfill the essential functions which these departments provide.
The finance department creates financial records (integral for budgeting and planning) including:
– Batch edit lists
– Cheque lists
– Expense reimbursement
– Sales cards
– Request forms
– Tax bills
– Water meter readings
Many of the records the finance department creates are integral for budget and planning considerations and so must be secure but also easily available. Local governments must balance these two conflicting interests by implementing a system with the right controls in place.
The human resources department is one of the most record intensive departments producing documentation related to processes such as:
– Personnel files
– Time cards
– Employee contracts
– Health & Safety
They may also need to handle and store sensitive information such as:
– Personal contact information;
– Medical information;
– Employee Performance Reviews;
– Complaints and Interpersonal Issues.
Records generated by departments such as the public works department often fall into several different categories (the exact names of which may vary but act as first points of contact) including but not limited to:
– Subdivision files
– Water and sewer
– Quotation and tenders
– Vehicle and yard records
– Fuel and mileage reports
– Road design and engineering
It may be important that these records are made available to the public in a timely manner. As this is often one of the first points of contact (usually through permits and public records) between the municipality and the citizens it serves, it is important to be able to locate and distribute these records seamlessly. In an increasingly digital age citizens often demand access to these records online
Administration is by its very nature record-dependent. Most of the records the administration department issues are public facing such as:
– By-laws and enforcement
– Council and committee agendas and minutes
– In camera
– Freedom of information requests
In addition, they need to be able to handle inward facing documents including:
– Compliance documentation
– Confidential decision supporting documentation
Although there are many systems designed to handle these types of records, it is important that these workflows are designed in such a way that records can be moved seamlessly between departments, without introducing silos or losing organization-wide context.
In many projects, several or all of the departments may need to work with the same or linked documents.
Consider a potential scenario in a municipality such as repairing a road.
– Public works begins a study including a review all property files affected by the project;
– Clerks department issues an announcement and public consultation and solicits public feedback;
– An environmental assessment is completed and reviewed;
– Presentation to council or works committee for approval and regular updates;
– Procurement must issue and approve the necessary contracts;
– Human Resources may need to hire someone to oversee the project;
– Finance supports budget allocation and funding to pay for the construction.
In the ideal scenario, there are systems and workflows in place to ensure functions work transparently across departments with a traditional business-driven context or are part of a formally managed record series. When implemented properly many of these processes can be triggered automatically, without complicating existing training plans, or water down measures that might introduce risk.
A number of typical workflows may include:
– Public works identifies a need;
– A workflow is triggered to request budget approval:
- Requisition documents are distributed to council members;
- Council or committee meets to discuss the ask;
- Board approves or rejects it;
- An approval triggers another workflow to Procurement.
– Procurement creates an RFP:
- Responses are automatically itemized;
- Automatic workflows analyze proposals to ensure they are compliant. Once the deadline passes, compliant documents are easily distributed.
– Vendor selection gets made:
- Finance has a workflow to automatically setup vendors;
- Purchase workflows exist to ensure vendors can be transparently paid;
- Signoff workflow exists that allows management to sign off on the contract and release payment.
Ricoh workflows are designed to be agile, cross-functional, and to eliminate the burdens ordinarily imposed by traditional documentation or some myopic case management configurations. These workflows give the municipality the potential to save time and money while improving governance.
This overview is designed to provide a brief summary of systems in a prototypical local government and the challenges it faces when handling documentation. In the following sections, we will delve deeper into the types of workflows that individual departments may encounter and scenarios that show how Ricoh can be used to automate the process.
Ricoh has worked with over 100 local governments. Learn how we can help your organization become more efficient.