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August 9th, 2011
Otago Regional Council, New Zealand – Software to Manage Environmental Regulation Compliance

With a commitment to delivering improved levels of service to the constituents of Otago, ORC has focused on improving the internal efficiencies of its regulatory functions, and decided to update its technology and business processes to achieve this. In an open public tender process administered by an external consulting firm, ORC sought a solution that would be able to support its core business activities both now and into the future.

After short-listing Accela and two established regionally based organizations, and conducting product demonstrations, ORC staff quickly appreciated that the modern architecture, flexibility and overall usability of Accela solutions best supported its business objectives and would enable ORC to automate many of its current manual processes via its internal workflow engine. Accela was identified as the solution that would allow ORC to fulfill its primary goals of:

  • reducing turnaround times on assessment and processing of consent applications;
  • ensuring full compliance with consent requirements through the lifecycle of the consent;
  • deploying a browser based, easy to use, flexible, integrated consents and compliance solution for its staff;
  • and providing a cornerstone for further improvements in efficiencies and customer service levels through the provision of mobile office capabilities for field staff and 24/7 online services to the community.

ORC’s Director of Corporate Services, Wayne Scott, on selecting the Accela solution, commented: “There is always some risk in being first off the rank with systems. However, we had done the homework and believed in the Accela product, the technology, the flexibility, and the commitment of Accela South Pacific. We are very pleased with the product, which has certainly enhanced the efficiency, systems and documentation of our consenting and compliance processes and activities.”

The agency conducts regular reviews of whether its goals are being met and measures the tangible business benefits that have resulted.

Robert Body, ORC’s Manager Information Technology stated: “Accela is a key corporate system which interfaces with our financial, document management and GIS systems. We have had excellent feedback from our consents and compliance management staff and this will only get better as we get a more comprehensive understanding of the product and its capabilities.”

Mr. Body identified several key benefits that ORC has realized with Accela Automation, including:

  • improvements in the way Resource Officers and Compliance staff manage their workloads with the use of task lists;
  • clear visibility on statutory timeframes across all current applications, which has helped ORC staff achieve 100% of consent applications processed within statutory timeframes since the implementation of Accela;
  • improved scheduling of inspections for compliance staff and automation of much of the manual work required in generating audit reports; and
  • immediate availability of new charge codes in the ORC time recording system, enabling staff to put their time to the correct cost center.

About Otago and ORC

Otago, located in the southern end of New Zealand’s South Island, is the country’s second-largest region, incorporating approximately 32,000 sq. km., or 12% of New Zealand’s land area. It has a population of nearly 200,000, and the city of Dunedin on the east coast is the regional centre. The Otago coastline stretches approximately 480 km., while the coastal marine area extends out to sea 22.2 km. (12 nautical miles). The Otago Regional Council exists to promote the sustainable development and enhancement of Otago’s resources. In addition to looking after the environment, ORC takes into account the economic, cultural and social needs of the people of Otago. More information is available at www.orc.govt.nz.