Product Update: Case Management Streamlines Complex Permitting

By Nadia Bajwa, Product Manager

CityBase has put an immense effort toward making the lives of constituents and government agency staff easier. Our product team has set out to free people from doing tedious, repetitive tasks so they can focus on the issues that really matter. As of today, we are excited to announce the launch of new Case Management features. This feature set amplifies our current Digital Services product to make it easier than ever to manage multi-step government processes that are often confusing to citizens and cumbersome for staff.

The problem we set out to solve was to streamline the business permitting process. We took inspiration from our public sector clients, who collaborated with us to create a solution that really worked for them and would help others like them revolutionize the permitting adventure.

From Form-Building to Case Management: The Origin Story

Many of our clients had expressed the need for a solution that would allow them to track all the interactions between a city and a given person. While Digital Services enabled them to build forms and message respondents directly from a central dashboard, it didn’t allow them to send follow-up forms related to the same person (or the same “case”).

Further, the people we spoke with were unsatisfied with other technologies on the market. None of the solutions they were using adequately addressed their problems. The offerings were often fragmented and required users to rely on three or more technologies to complete a single task, like a form builder, a place to track multiple interactions (usually Excel), and another to communicate across agencies (most likely email).

A lot of our clients were already impressed and familiar with the CityBase Digital Services product, known to some as Screendoor. They were eager to extend the use of our solution for other, more complex use cases.

Giving the People What They Want: Powerful Management Tools

Our existing solution was already good at eliminating paper processes, promoting more accurate applications, enabling cross-team collaboration, and improving the user experience for citizens. But there was still more we could do to bring the product to the next level for our users.

With an immense collaborative effort between CityBase and our civic partners, we are rolling out a transformative feature set that elevates the product from a form builder to a case management tool satisfying a much broader set of needs for our clients. With new Case Management functionality, users can now create a narrative around a single applicant and facilitate multi-step interactions between government agencies and constituents.

Let’s take for example a city that needs to process applications for new business permits. Here are some of the steps that may be required in a given city (although every city is different), and how the new Case Management features can help.

Permitting Steps:

    • Submit: Using our technology, a person can submit their business permit application form online with an agency like the Treasurer.
    • Review: A staff member sees the application come through on their Case Management Dashboard. They can review or assign it to another person on their team.
    • Approve, Alert, Assign: Let’s say that initial review goes well. A staff member approves that stage of the application. Changing the status of the application will alert the business owner that they are moving through the pipeline, and it prompts the next team to take the next step.
    • Follow Up: The next agency, such as Planning, sends the business owner a follow-up form to gather additional information about the proposed business. They can send the form directly from the person’s case in the dashboard, with pieces of information that were collected from the last form already filled in, like the proposed business address and the owner’s contact information.
    • Collaborate: At each stage, different agencies like Planning, Police, and Fire collect and review different pieces of information relevant to their department. If an agency staff member wants to figure out which stage an applicant is in the process, they can click on the applicant’s name and see which forms they have filled out and what needs to be sent to them next.
    • Engage: The business owner is kept informed each step of the way and receives the next step automatically rather than needing to hunt it down. They can also update previously submitted forms or upload supporting documents. If they get stuck or have a question, they can contact any agency admin and that person can access their draft to assist.

With new Case Management features, we hope to radically upgrade the permitting process for agency administrators and business owners alike. We believe that Case Management will play an integral role in dismantling the black box that often plagues the permitting process.

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