Transforming Citizen Feedback into Actionable Insights

In the current landscape of municipal management, the shift towards digital engagement tools for managing citizen feedback has become increasingly crucial. A survey by the Center for Digital Government involving 169 local government leaders highlights this trend, revealing a substantial 51% increase in constituent participation due to the implementation of digital tools for citizen engagement. These tools, including virtual meetings and social media communication, have not only facilitated enhanced engagement but have also significantly improved government transparency, with over 60% of local leaders acknowledging this improvement​​.

The Impact of Citizen-Centric Technologies

The integration of citizen-centric technologies in municipal management has marked a significant shift in how local governments interact with their communities. The digital tools employed are not just about improving efficiency; they represent a deeper commitment to understanding and responding to the needs and preferences of citizens. In today’s digital era, the expectation for convenient, accessible, and responsive government services is at an all-time high. Citizens are looking for ways to engage with their local governments that align with their daily use of technology.

The growing preference for digital interaction suggests that citizens want to be heard and involved in the governance process, expecting transparency and accountability from their local officials. Research underscores this evolving dynamic, highlighting the importance of digital platforms in meeting these new expectations of managing citizen feedback.

Moreover, the embrace of digital tools is a response to the changing landscape of civic engagement. As the public becomes more accustomed to the immediacy and accessibility of digital platforms in other aspects of their lives, they naturally expect the same from their municipal services. This change is about adapting to a new way of civic interaction where feedback loops are quicker, decision-making is more informed by real-time data, and citizens feel a stronger connection to their local government. This is where the increase in citizen satisfaction becomes especially significant, as it reflects a more engaged and empowered citizenry, actively participating in the shaping of their communities.


Embracing Mobile Technology

The power of mobile technology in municipal services is undeniable. Surveys and insights reveal a striking trend: a whopping 80% of residents across all services report using mobile channels. This statistic reflects a significant shift in public expectations, where convenience and accessibility via mobile devices are not just desired but expected. Mobile apps offer a direct and user-friendly way for residents to interact with their local government, whether it’s to pay bills, access information, or participate in community decision-making processes.

This trend towards mobile technology is reshaping how municipalities operate and interact with their citizens. By adopting mobile platforms, local governments can offer services that are not only more accessible but also more aligned with the modern lifestyle. This alignment is crucial in an era where the majority of the population is accustomed to managing various aspects of their lives through smartphones. The adoption of mobile technology in municipal signifies a commitment to meeting residents where they are, both literally and technologically.


Realizing the Potential

The implementation of citizen engagement software in municipal represents a strategic approach to enhancing the efficiency and responsiveness of local government. This software enables municipalities to transform citizen feedback into actionable insights, streamlining the process of gathering, analyzing, and acting upon the valuable input from the community. This transformative process not only simplifies the management of feedback but also ensures that the voices of citizens directly inform policy and service improvements. By actively leveraging this technology, municipalities can prioritize issues that are most important to their residents, leading to more targeted and effective community solutions.

The success of this approach is evident in various municipalities across North America, where the implementation of citizen engagement platforms has led to measurable improvements in citizen satisfaction and participation. These successes demonstrate the effectiveness of digital tools in enhancing the quality of municipal services and the overall citizen experience. By adopting these technologies, local governments are not only addressing the immediate needs of their communities but are also preparing for a future where digital engagement and responsiveness are key to successful municipal management.


Steering Towards a Digitally Empowered Future

The adoption of digital tools and citizen engagement software in municipal management is a significant step towards building communities that are both responsive and forward-thinking. As municipalities embrace these tools, they create opportunities for more dynamic interaction with their community, ensuring that the services they provide are not only effective but also reflective of the evolving needs and preferences of their residents.

In this digital age, the role of municipal management is evolving rapidly, driven by the expectations of a populace that is increasingly tech-savvy and demanding of efficiency and transparency. By integrating digital engagement tools, local governments can significantly enhance their operational efficiency and service delivery. This integration allows for a more streamlined approach to managing citizen feedback, requests, and participation, ultimately leading to a more engaged and satisfied community. The data-driven approach facilitated by these tools enables municipalities to make informed decisions, prioritize resources effectively, and deliver services that truly resonate with their citizens’ needs.

Looking ahead, the continued adoption and refinement of digital tools in municipal management will play a crucial role in shaping smart, sustainable, and citizen-centric cities and towns. As municipalities adapt to these digital advancements, they not only improve current operations but also lay the groundwork for future innovation and improvement. This journey towards digital empowerment is essential for municipalities to remain relevant, responsive, and resilient in an ever-changing world.

In Conclusion

AccessE11 is one solution that can empower your citizens to be more connected with their local municipalities. Combining issue management alongside citizen outreach capabilities will help build a bridge between residents and their municipality. Choosing a solution that is easy to use and approachable for the needs of your community means you will be able to make important decisions backed by the feedback you are receiving. By embracing this approach, you can ensure that you are not only addressing current needs but are also future-ready, capable of adapting to the evolving expectations of your community.


Part 9 – The Series – Unveiling the Strategies of Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) for Government Facilities

This is the ninth and concluding installment article in a series of articles addressing Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) in Government Facilities. Note that all the strategies mentioned throughout the articles presented can be applied to a variety of facilities and organizations.

Conclusion: The Future Path of Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED)

As we navigate the intricate landscape of urban development and security, Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) stands as a testament to the power of interdisciplinary approaches in crafting safer, more resilient spaces. The journey of CPTED, from its roots in enhancing visibility and control within environments to its current embrace of technological and social advancements, reflects a dynamic and evolving field. The principles of natural surveillance, access control, territorial reinforcement, and maintenance have proven pivotal in reshaping not just the physical environment but also the social fabric of communities.

In government facilities, the application of CPTED has taken on critical importance, offering a blend of enhanced security, public safety, and cost-effectiveness, all while maintaining the aesthetic and functional integrity of these spaces. The implementation of CPTED in such settings has not only mitigated the risks of criminal activities but also fostered a sense of trust and wellbeing among the public and employees.

Looking ahead, the future of CPTED is marked by exciting innovations and trends. The integration of smart surveillance technologies, the emphasis on green and sustainable design, and the adoption of data-driven approaches promise to elevate CPTED’s effectiveness to new heights. The commitment to community-oriented designs and integrated urban planning underscores a shift towards more inclusive, participatory approaches in creating safe spaces.

However, as CPTED continues to evolve, it faces its own set of challenges and limitations. Balancing the need for security with concerns over privacy and inclusivity, adapting to diverse and changing urban landscapes, and ensuring the integration of CPTED principles into broader social and economic strategies remain ongoing challenges. The success of CPTED will depend on its ability to remain flexible, responsive, and holistic, addressing not just the physical aspects of crime prevention but also the underlying social dynamics.

In conclusion, Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) stands at the crossroads of tradition and innovation. As it continues to adapt and integrate with emerging technologies and societal trends, CPTED is poised to play a vital role in shaping the future of urban spaces. Its journey forward is one of balancing security with community needs, embracing technological advancements while staying true to its core principles, and continually striving for safer, more inclusive, and sustainable environments. The path ahead for CPTED is not just about preventing crime but about fostering environments where communities can thrive in safety and harmony.

If your Municipality wants to learn more about this topic and read the full article version visit here. Feel free to contact me directly at [email protected] for further assistance.


Smart Governance: Leveraging Data for Better Municipal Management

In the dynamic landscape of urban management, the advent of data-driven decision-making stands as a revolutionary tool for municipalities. This article aims to dissect what it means to make decisions using data, unravel the complexities small municipalities face in implementing a data-centric culture, and explore the methodologies of data harnessing to address urban challenges.

Defining Data Driven Decision Making

Data-driven decision-making is a shift from traditional decision-making processes in municipalities. Traditional approaches often rely on historical practices, intuition, or political pressures, which can overlook underlying issues or emerging trends. In contrast, this new method of decision-making grounds choices in objective, quantifiable data. This shift not only enhances the accuracy of your choices but also makes the decision-making process more transparent and accountable.

The City of Syracuse, New York, serves as a prime example of this shift. By adopting a data-driven approach to tackle its infrastructure challenges, Syracuse utilized predictive analytics to anticipate and prevent water main breaks. Their proactive strategy led to an 18% reduction in such incidents. Thus highlighting the superiority of data-driven strategies over traditional, reactive approaches.

Essentially, utilizing data empowers municipalities to make informed, strategic decisions that are responsive to actual community needs and conditions. It enables a more dynamic, evidence-based approach to urban governance, setting a new standard for efficiency and effectiveness in public service delivery.

Challenges in Smaller Communities

Implementing a data-centric culture in smaller municipalities does not come without it’s challenges. One of the primary obstacles is the scarcity of resources. Smaller cities often operate with limited budgets and manpower, which can hinder the adoption of advanced data collection and analysis technologies. This resource crunch can delay or even derail the transition to a data-driven approach.

Another significant challenge is the existing technological infrastructure. In many smaller municipalities, it is not sufficiently developed to support comprehensive data initiatives. The lack of advanced IT systems and digital tools can limit the ability to collect, store, and analyze large volumes of data effectively.

Although there may be roadblocks to implementing a data-centric culture in your community, overcoming these hurdles is crucial for smaller cities to keep pace with the evolving citizen demands of high-quality, efficient service delivery.

Data Sources to be Used

Local governments have a variety of data sources at their disposal, each offering unique insights and advantages. Citizen feedback is a vital source of data, providing real-time, on-the-ground perspectives on municipal services and policies. Platforms like AccessE11 enable governments to tap into this valuable resource, facilitating more responsive and citizen-centric governance.

Operational data, encompassing information on municipal services, infrastructure, and assets, is another crucial data source. This data helps in optimizing service delivery and resource allocation. Santa Monica’s Wellbeing Project exemplifies the effective use of operational data. By analyzing various parameters of community well-being, the city was able to implement targeted mental health programs, leading to a 14% improvement in residents’ well-being scores. Financial and environmental data are equally important. Financial data allows for more transparent and accountable budgeting and spending, while environmental data can guide sustainable urban development and resource management. Asheville, North Carolina’s use of data analytics to enhance its fire department’s response times — reducing them by 20% — demonstrates the power of operational and environmental data in improving public safety and emergency response services.

In Conclusion

The journey towards embracing data-driven decision-making is not without its challenges, especially for smaller municipalities. However, the potential benefits are immense and far-reaching. By leveraging various data sources, such as citizen feedback, operational, financial, and environmental data, municipalities can revolutionize how they operate and serve their communities. The success stories of Syracuse, Santa Monica, and Asheville underscore the transformative impact of data-driven decision-making. As more municipalities adopt this approach, we can anticipate a future where urban governance is more efficient, responsive, and attuned to the needs of the community. The shift to data-driven decision-making is not just a trend; it is the future of effective municipal governance.


Navigating the Surge in Citizen Records Requests: A Guide for Municipalities


The democratization of information, fueled by the digital age, has empowered citizens to seek transparency and accountability from their local governments. As a result, municipalities are witnessing an unprecedented surge in citizen records requests. While this surge is a testament to an engaged and informed citizen base, it simultaneously presents logistical and operational challenges for local governments. The complexities involved in fulfilling these records requests have also escalated, making it an arduous task that requires meticulous planning, resource allocation, and, most importantly, time.

Growing Volume and Complexity

According to a study by the National League of Cities, the volume of citizen public records requests has increased by over 30% year-over-year. This exponential rise is not just a number but represents a myriad of requests, from simple inquiries about public expenditures to more complex demands for legal documents. In addition, the cost of processing a single request can vary significantly depending on the complexity, ranging from $30 to almost $450.


Burden on Municipal Staff

The administrative burden to meet these demands stretches the already scarce labour resources available to municipalities. Staff must divert time from other civic duties to comb through files, redact sensitive information, and ensure compliance with the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) or equivalent state laws. Couple that with the complexities of the requests themselves increasing, now including photo and video, and it’s become the number one burden for over 75% of government agencies according to a survey. As a result, the time taken to fulfill a request has lengthened, leading to delays and, consequently, unhappy citizens.


The Need for a Digital Solution

In an era where speed and efficiency are paramount, relying solely on manual processes is unsustainable. Adopting a digital solution for handling records requests can serve as a cornerstone for effective citizen engagement. Automation can streamline the process by categorizing requests, assigning them to the relevant departments, and even providing estimated timelines for fulfillment. Digitization also enables easy retrieval and sharing of documents, reducing the turnaround time significantly.

Planning for Implementation

For municipalities contemplating a shift towards a digital solution, here are some key steps for a seamless implementation:

  1. Needs Assessment: Conduct a thorough analysis of the current system, identifying bottlenecks and inefficiencies.
  2. Vendor Selection: Look for solutions that are robust, user-friendly, and offer functionalities specifically designed for records requests.
  3. Staff Training: Ensure that municipal staff are adequately trained to utilize the new system effectively.
  4. Pilot Testing: Implement the solution in phases, beginning with a pilot program to gauge its effectiveness.
  5. Feedback Loop: Continually collect feedback from both staff and citizens to make necessary adjustments

Prioritizing Integration

Rather than operating in silos, modern municipal systems require a level of interconnectedness to function efficiently. Choosing a citizen records management solution with an open API can be a game-changer in this regard. Open APIs allow for seamless integration between different software platforms, thereby creating a centralized hub for all relevant data. The following are major benefits of having a system that can integrate with others:

  • Centralized Data: Having a single point of access for various types of data eliminates the need for multiple logins and reduces the risk of data duplication or error.
  • Streamlined Workflows: An open API enables automated data exchange between systems. For example, a records request in the citizen engagement platform can automatically populate fields in the document management system, saving time and reducing manual entry errors.
  • Enhanced Collaboration: Different departments within the municipality can easily collaborate as they can access the same, consistent data. This is especially useful for complex records requests that involve multiple departments.
    Scalability: As your municipality grows, an open API ensures that new functionalities and modules can be easily added or updated without overhauling the entire system.
  • Cost-Efficiency: Interoperable systems reduce the need for additional software to bridge gaps between different platforms, lowering overall costs.
  • Compliance Ease: Integrated systems can be programmed to automatically adhere to legal standards such as the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), making compliance simpler and less prone to human error.

By opting for a solution that prioritizes interoperability through an open API, municipalities can ensure that they are investing in a flexible, scalable, and efficient system. This enables local governments to meet the growing and complex demands of citizen record requests while simultaneously facilitating other municipal operations.


The task of managing citizen records requests is becoming increasingly complex and time-consuming. However, adopting a digital solution can alleviate many of these challenges by automating workflows, digitizing records, and enabling efficient resource allocation. A specialized system, like AccessE11, focuses strictly on citizen engagement and issue management, making it an ideal choice for municipalities looking to streamline this aspect of their operations. With a well-planned implementation, local governments can significantly reduce the time and resources required to fulfill citizen records requests, thereby fostering a transparent, efficient, and engaged community.


Transparency Made Easy: How Municipal CRM Software Improves the FOIA Request Management Process

Municipalities face a complex challenge in FOIA request management (Freedom of Information Act). To find the pertinent information, staff must carefully sift through the vast amount of documentation and data, further complicating the task. Fulfilling these requests involves not only locating the requested data but also scrutinizing it for any redactions or exclusions mandated by law. As a result, the fulfillment of such requests entails a significant investment of time and effort. This effort may divert resources from other critical responsibilities.

However, the fulfillment of FOIA requests is an essential element of government transparency. It empowers citizens to access public records and ensures accountability from their government. Thus, it is imperative for municipalities to prioritize the adoption of a solution that can streamline the FOIA request management process. Ultimately, building trust with their citizens and better serving their communities. This is precisely where a municipal CRM (Citizen Relationship Management) software comes into play, revolutionizing the processes of a municipality.

Centralized Request Management

The number one benefit of utilizing a CRM software is the ability to establish a centralized platform that manages all customer interactions, including FOIA requests. Through this platform, municipalities can consolidate all FOIA requests into one centralized system. A centralized system provides a comprehensive overview of all requests received. This efficient tracking and documentation method ensures that every request is accounted for. As a result, no citizen concern or request falls through the cracks. Outdated systems (or a lack of system entirely) significantly increase the likelihood of missing issues. The outcome of missing issues can result in legal troubles for municipalities.

The number one benefit of utilizing a CRM software is the ability to establish a centralized platform that manages all customer interactions, including FOIA requests. Through this platform, municipalities can consolidate all FOIA requests into one centralized system. A centralized system provides a comprehensive overview of all requests received. This efficient tracking and documentation method ensures that every request is accounted for. As a result, no citizen concern or request falls through the cracks. Outdated systems (or a lack of system entirely) significantly increase the likelihood of missing issues. The outcome of missing issues can result in legal troubles for municipalities.

Secure Document Management

Security and confidentiality are essential considerations when looking to protect the information of citizens. By utilizing a CRM platform, municipalities can ensure that they securely store and manage public records. Additionally, they can restrict access to authorized staff members only, and protect against unauthorized access or disclosure.

Choosing a system that offers trusted and secure document management tightly controls access to records and documentation of who accessed them. Staff can easily fulfill FOIA requests without being concerned whether they will violate the privacy of a citizen or accessing something they weren’t authorized to. Additionally, CRM systems track every time a record or document is updated or changed, providing an extra level of security. This ensures that specific documentation is available showing who made changes to those documents and when it happened, in case of any future concerns.

Automated Request Processing

Another key advantage of utilizing a CRM platform for FOIA requests is the automation of manual processes. The result is an efficient and streamlined FOIA request process. Upon receipt of a FOIA request, the system will automatically generate a confirmation email to the requester, confirming receipt of their request and outlining the next steps of the process. This automated response ensures timely communication with the requester. It also reduces the burden on staff to manually confirm receipt of the request, while still keeping the resident satisfied that their issue is being looked into.

The CRM software can also automatically assign the request to the appropriate staff member or department. This eliminates the need for manual assignment and reduces the risk of miscommunication or errors. To lower the risk of delayed responses or missed deadlines, the system also configures reminders and alerts. Thereby ensuring that the request is processed and fulfilled within the required time-frame.

Real Time Status Updates

One of the most frustrating aspects of a citizen request is often the lack of transparency around the status of a request once it’s been made. Offering real time updates and status look-ups give citizens the comfort in knowing that their concerns are being taken seriously and dealt with appropriately.

CRM software can provide these updates to citizens automatically. Whether it be through a self serve portal, or through email and phone support, municipalities can improve transparency and accountability of FOIA requests. The result is an increase in trust and confidence in their community.

Analytics and Reporting

Finally, adopting a CRM platform for your municipality will provide you with a powerful tool that enables departments to access valuable analytics and reporting capabilities. With a CRM platform, municipalities can gain a deeper understanding of their performance over time. It also allows staff to identify areas for improvement, and make data-driven decisions to streamline their FOIA request process. For instance, they can see which types of requests are most received, which departments are responsible for fulfilling the most requests, and the average time it takes to process a request. Armed with this information, they can tackle bottlenecks head-on. They can also allocate resources strategically, and ultimately enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of their FOIA request process.

In Conclusion

The Office of Government Information Services examined the significance of collaborating with technology experts and tools to manage FOIA requests in a study. The study found that only one out of every five organizations was engaging in such a partnership. Adopting a municipal CRM software solution for managing FOIA requests is crucial for government transparency and accountability. CRM software provides a centralized request management system, automates manual processes, ensures secure document management, offers real-time status updates, and provides valuable analytics and reporting capabilities By streamlining the FOIA request process, municipalities can better serve their communities, build trust, and improve their overall performance over time. Ultimately, the adoption of a CRM software solution is a wise investment for any municipality looking to enhance its efficiency and effectiveness in managing FOIA requests.

AccessE11 is one such solution. Able to securely manage documents and citizen records while being affordable to small & mid-sized municipalities. Request a demo today and discover the changes you can make to your citizen engagement process.


Double the Data, Double the Cost: The Price of Duplicating Your Data Entry

As a Town Manager, you are likely familiar with the challenges that arise when having to duplicate data entry across multiple, unconnected systems. Having to repeatedly input information about citizen issues, as one example, into different platforms not only takes extra labour, but also introduces more potential points of error. Redundancies like these in your internal processes can compromise the integrity of your entire municipality’s data. This is where Application Programming Interfaces, known as API’s, can be introduced. API’s reduce the duplication of data entry and streamline operations across all departments and platforms. Therefore, when selecting a platform for your municipality, picking one that is able to utilize API’s is an important consideration.  AccessE11™ is a centralized software solution that provides a single, consolidated platform for your entire municipality.

Bad Data is a Big Problem

frustrated worker

It makes sense that having to enter data multiple times, across multiple platforms, can (and will) lead to mistakes. Every time a person must manually enter data into a program, there’s an opportunity for something incorrect to be entered. If you have multiple people entering the same data, that then leaves even more opportunity for errors. But how much of an issue is bad data anyways?

From a cost perspective, bad data is unfathomably expensive. A report by IBM in 2016 estimated that bad data costs the U.S. over $3 trillion per year. Costs associated with maintaining bad and duplicate data can take various forms. For instance, when a citizen’s information is only partially entered in a database, it requires additional time and effort to collect and compile all available data on that individual. The labour cost of managing inaccurate and redundant data compounds at every stage of the data lifecycle, including data entry, retrieval, and cleaning. These activities require valuable labor hours that could otherwise be allocated to other important tasks.

Financial costs aside, there are other factors that come into play with bad data. Missing information can lead to ineffective customer service. This will negatively impact the trust that resident’s have of the staff and their municipality. Reporting becomes more difficult, or even impossible, if the data is not easily retrievable.

How to Fix the Problem


AccessE11 is a modern citizen issue and citizen relationship management platform designed specifically for small to medium municipalities. It is a software created to assist with the issues discussed above by providing a single, consolidated platform which can span the entire municipality. Utilizing an open API, AccessE11 is capable of seamlessly integrating with many other asset management and workflow products, such as Cartegraph and Brightly. Thus ensuring that staff and citizens alike need to only enter data one time and have that data reflected across all platforms and departments. Additionally, these integrations improve reporting functionality by enabling staff members to access all records at the same time. This provides assurance that the data they are accessing is complete and accurate. Visit our website today and schedule a demo with one of our reps.

As a Town Manager, it is important to consider the benefits of offering a centralized software solution for your municipality that can help reduce the potential for issues caused by data redundancy and bad data creation. AccessE11 will help you to better serve your citizens and ultimately improve the overall performance of your municipality.


Change takes time. The Future is approaching.

So, our first piece of advice is to start thinking about it now. And yes, you can ease into the future; it does not have to happen tomorrow.

When organizations are planning out their new, or enhanced physical security needs we are often asked what are the trends that are likely to shape physical security in the future?

The same question is usually followed up with… “If we do this, or if we buy this, will this sustain us in the future?”

Which also can be interpreted to… “So, we don’t have to buy something else, and that this will last us a long time, right?”

Good questions, but always a challenge to answer. Many factors play out as resistance or even catalysts to these questions and their subsequent decisions. Risk exposure, budgets, actual realized events, change in the organization’s focus, change in the organization’s leadership, campaign promises, or even change in some environments, regulation or legislation “forcing” a change, all impact the ‘future’ question.

What are those future trends shaping physical security? Some trends outlined in the list below may be a surprise, some may appear too futuristic.

  1. Increased use of biometric security measures: Biometric security measures, such as fingerprint scanners and facial recognition technology, are becoming more popular as they offer a high level of accuracy and are difficult to bypass.
  2. Rise of smart security systems: Smart security systems are becoming more common, and these systems often use artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to analyze video footage and detect potential threats.
  3. Greater emphasis on cybersecurity: As more security systems become connected to the internet, cybersecurity is becoming an increasingly important consideration. Companies are investing in measures to protect against cyber-attacks that could compromise their security systems.
  4. Increased use of drones: Drones or Remotely Piloted Aircraft System(s) (RPAS) are being used more frequently for security purposes, such as patrolling large areas, inspecting high-risk locations or even in response to incidents in providing real-time surveillance.
  5. Greater use of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) in training: VR and AR are being used to train security personnel in simulated environments, allowing them to practice their skills and respond to potential threats in a safe and controlled setting.
  6. Integration of physical and cybersecurity: As threats evolve and become more sophisticated, it is increasingly important for physical security and cybersecurity to work together to provide comprehensive protection. This integration may involve integrating cybersecurity measures into physical security systems, such as installing firewall protection on security cameras.

Biometrics, smart security systems, cybersecurity emphasis and the integration of physical and cybersecurity have been on our radar for several years now and have been introduced into our past and current projects with great adoption by our client base.

The trend not mentioned here but remains a constant for us, is the due diligence required to ensure the “paperwork” is complete, up to date, used and enforced. Your policies, and procedures, training programs, guidance documents and standards are the backbones for all these physical security tools to work in the manner they were intended for your organization.

Of course, great planning and the execution of that plan is essential. Planning is a cyclical process that can start, stop, and reset when required. The future is changing. Be prepared.

Plan the Work. Work the Plan.

Reach out. We can help.

Should your Municipality need assistance, contact Michael White Group International today, and we will be happy to answer your questions. Visit


Efficiency: The Side Effect of Effective Citizen Engagement

Increasing efficiency can often be a challenging task and can come at a cost. Whether it be increased monetary costs to implement a new process in your workplace, or increased labour costs to train and bring on new staff, efficiency comes at a price. But imagine if you could implement a digital municipal citizen engagement solution for your community. One that looks to improve your residents’ engagement and overall satisfaction, and also benefit by handling more service requests with shorter turnaround times.

The Necessity of a Digital Solution for Municipal Citizen Engagement

In our increasingly digital world, properly implemented digital options are no longer a luxury. They are a demand. Consumers expect the solution to their problem to be solvable online – often without needing to speak to a person at all. This expectation has existed in private industry for quite some time and has now pivoted to government services as well.

Not providing a digital option has some very negative consequences. The customer will be significantly more dissatisfied or even worse, will choose not to engage at all. What this means for a municipality is that there is a large subset of your population that will avoid interacting with their local government if there is no digital solution provided for them.

Of course, providing this option for your residents will be a primary benefit. In fact, there is evidence showing that having a properly developed citizen engagement tool online can lead to improvements in the municipality for both citizens and leaders. However, there is another added benefit that isn’t as frequently discussed when looking at implementing a citizen engagement solution – the benefit of getting more done without needing to increase resources.

The Cost of Efficiency

Efficiency is something that is constantly strived for, whether it be private companies or government operations at any level. By definition, increasing efficiency allows you to get more done with the same or fewer resources. In a business, this might allow you to deliver your product or service more quickly or decrease the overall cost of creating your product. For a municipality, it might mean decreasing the time it takes to close a resident’s service request ticket.

On this topic, you might reasonably ask if a citizen engagement program might have a downside of decreasing efficiency. You are opening your staff to more communication with citizens and therefore increasing the volume of service requests coming in, and both staff and citizens both have to learn a new system. In other words, better citizen engagement could come at a cost to your department. Now imagine if you could increase the volume of service requests handled by your municipality AND at the same time increase the overall efficiency with which these are addressed. Let us look at how that’s possible.

We recently went through our customers’ usage habits to figure out basic information on how our customers are using AccessE11. Almost by accident, we discovered clear and direct links between engagement of citizens and increased efficiency within the municipality. To understand this better, let’s look at how staff and residents are using AccessE11 to submit service requests.

Some Data

The first piece of data is quite simple – submissions of service requests using AccessE11 over the past five years. Although this is straightforward, it is a very good sign. It shows that the longer a municipality has been a customer of AccessE11, the more frequently they are using it to streamline their service request process.

Growth over year
And this is not just the case for larger municipalities. In general, smaller municipalities might think that there is less need for digital solutions to meet the needs of their communities, but our customers are living proof that it is often the residents of smaller municipalities who crave engagement with their local government. One of our current customers, Hastings Highlands, is a wonderful example of how a well-executed digital solution can positively impact a small municipality.

Growth by population

So, this is all great, albeit somewhat expected data. However, you might be asking “what does this have to do with efficiency?” Well, that’s where a third set of data sheds some light, and this was discovered entirely by accident. Analyzing the usage data and looking at trends, we discovered something amazing. Given the first two charts, it’s easy to see that usage of AccessE11 by staff and citizens is increasing year over year. However, this data doesn’t address efficiency and simply focuses on total usage. But let’s look at this next chart.

Days to complete

This is a chart that takes all service requests raised over the past six years and looks at how long it takes for each service request to resolve and be closed. In aggregate, time to close is VASTLY decreased year over year.

What Does This Mean?

So, what does this mean for your municipality? It means that adopting a strong digital solution for municipal citizen engagement and managing service requests not only increases community contribution and overall satisfaction, but it also increases efficiency internally. Increasing efficiency leads to a direct savings of resources for your departments. Whether that be time, money, or a combination of both, your municipality can see a significant increase in service requests and still decrease the time it takes to manage these requests. Best of all, because AccessE11 is designed specifically for small to medium municipalities, it is created with your specific challenges in mind.

Don’t wait any longer to implement a solution for your municipality. The demand for digital services increases year over year. It is quickly becoming a requirement for every facet of business and life. Signing up for AccessE11 will give your community a strong, adaptable solution to manage service requests, increase your efficiency, and end up saving money rather than costing money.



How HR Can Stay Connected to a Remote Workforce

The naysayers can deny it all they like, but remote work is the future and now it’s here to stay.

The shift towards remote work had already been ongoing before 2020, but the pandemic accelerated that trend to the point of no return.

The transition was hard for many people, but the world is a better place for it. Remote work is a better way to work and live by almost every metric. Remote employees are happier, more productive, and more efficient when they have agency over when and how they work.

Still, the paradigm shift misses something about remote work and lacks something that office culture has – that of personal interaction. It’s harder to get to communicate with your team through a screen than it is face-to-face.

That isn’t to stay it can’t be done. Making a remote company feel like a connected, cohesive team just involves a different way of thinking about HR and project management.

This post will offer different ways HR can help their remote workforce stay connected.

1. Trust Your Employees

Remote work does not work without trust. You can’t monitor everything your remote employees do throughout the day.

You can’t peek over your employees’ shoulders or walk up to their desks the same way you could in an office setting. Employee monitoring apps that monitor your remote employees’ browser activity and take screenshots of their desktops do exist, but these create a toxic work culture and are highly invasive to your team members’ privacy. It’s not practical, it’s not ethical, and it doesn’t create the kind of positive work environment you want.

The better alternative is to trust your remote employees to do their best work. If their productivity becomes an issue, have those conversations then.

2. Create a Remote-First Culture

Office happy hours and team get-togethers that were a feature of office life before the pandemic made a company feel like a team. As a remote company, you can replicate that sense of togetherness.

Have virtual socials and get-togethers once or twice a month. There are lots of remote party games your team can play over Zoom, or you can host Jeopardy-style trivia games or contests.

Create channels in your team Slack that let team members share memes, photos, weekly discussion questions, and photos and videos from their day-to-day lives.

You can also organize bi-weekly clubs for remote teammates to bond over their mutual interests – things like gaming, working out, or starting a book club. You can even arrange in-person meetups so your team members can spend time with each other in real life.

3. Celebrate Your Employees’ Successes

Quiet quitting – when employees mentally check out of work and their job just becomes a deposit for them – is the workforce buzzword of the day.

If your employees no longer feel valued or because their job no longer aligns with their career goals, they’ll be more likely to either coast along on the bare minimum or quit. Don’t let it get to that point.

Create a dedicated channel on your team Slack where you can celebrate your team’s successes. If an employee gets a win or does exceptional work, give them a shout-out. Good work deserves to be celebrated.

4. Be Organized – But Flexible

Having streamlined processes – a standardized, repeatable way of doing the same things consistently every time – is the lifeblood of any business, but it’s especially important for remote teams.

Keep your expectations consistent – but also be ready to adapt and open to change when things aren’t working out or don’t go as planned.

5. Make Leadership Available to Employees – and Listen to Their Feedback

Remote work requires a high level of trust, flexibility, and communication.

Larger enterprises that are used to certain practices struggled most during the shift to remote work. Remote teams have to be flexible and adapt quickly to changing circumstances.

You’re going to get things wrong – especially if you weren’t a remote-first company to begin with. Resolve that by encouraging communication between leadership and the rest of your remote team.

Have 1-on-1 check-ins between your team leads and individual team members where they can discuss issues, address concerns or raise questions – and implement fixes based on what they tell you.

Remote Work is a Better Way of Running a Business

Remote work is the way of the future. The companies that give their remote teams the same sense of connection they had before the pandemic will be best positioned for success. Remote work is not going anywhere, and the best thing you can do as the HR professional of a remote team is embrace it.



Focusing your Business Continuity Management (BCM) (Continuity of Operations (COOP))

The arrival of Covid-19 two years ago posed a serious and more difficult threat to most enterprises’ existence. The importance of business continuity management (BCM) in reducing possible hazards, speeding recovery, and meeting customer expectations has become critical for every firm, regardless of size, business vertical, government, or private entity. BCM is a methodology for determining an organization’s risk of being exposed to both internal and external threats. The purpose of BCM is to give the organization the capacity to respond effectively to risks such as pandemics, natural disasters, and data breaches while also protecting the organization’s commercial interests. Disaster recovery, business recovery, crisis management, incident management, emergency management, and contingency planning are all included in BCM.

When done correctly, BCM may provide any organization a competitive advantage. This is especially true if a disruption affects an entire group segment and you are able to respond or recover faster than your competition, reducing consumer inconvenience. When it becomes evident that you excel at dealing with operational disturbances, your brand will gain trust and certainty, allowing you to position your organization as a preferred alternative for your clients and even bolstering confidence and increasing shareholder value. This is no different in being a trusted government entity, department, or agency.

Understanding continuity and preparedness requirements, establishing business continuity management policies and objectives, implementing and operating controls and measures for managing an organization’s overall continuity risks, and continual improvement based on objective measurements are all covered by one internationally recognized standard, that being ISO 22301. The standard highlights the need of meeting and exceeding customer expectations in order to secure business longevity and revenue development.

It is critical that the thought leadership and every level of the organization understand the importance of readiness and continuity.

The most crucial part of developing a BCM is clearly articulating stakeholder demands; consequently, consumers must receive special attention because they are critical to the organization’s success. Focusing on customer needs will also allow the BCM to be fit for its purpose and provide the organisation with a clear picture of process criticality. As a result, you can expect positive results if you design and implement the business continuity plan from a customer’s perspective to drive the business impact analysis. Understanding your customers’ demands is critical to determining where you add value to them, as it allows you to prioritise and determine how much downtime is tolerable in various areas before affecting your bottom line.

Be S.M.A.R.T. about creating strategies and objectives for business continuity management.

Doing this guarantees that objectives are defined and matched with customer-oriented criteria. Internal and external dependencies that may have the greatest impact on an organization’s consumers are identified when policies and objectives are developed. Customer objectives should attempt to surpass consumers’ expectations rather than merely satisfying their requirements. As a result, any organization should make sure to provide top-notch quality consumer objectives. The goal of this setup is to ensure client retention, brand image, and eventually revenue growth.

There exists the importance of putting in place operational controls and procedures to manage an organization’s overall continuity risks.

Following the identification of customer demands and the establishment of essential policies and objectives for the organization, the next stage will be to implement controls that address and mitigate the identified risks. Because risks and changes are unavoidable in the environment in which your organization operates, a systematic approach to putting in place controls to reduce hazards is required. Setting up disaster recovery sites, business continuity strategies, and business continuity procedures are examples of these controls. Lack of these will eventually cause an organization to fail, leaving clients with little choice but to shift to competitors who will provide better choices, or at minimum a choice.

It’s a cycle of continuous development and improvement.

Continuous improvement is a continuous, cyclical endeavour to enhance goods, services, or processes. Processes are assessed and adjusted on a regular basis based on their efficiency, effectiveness, and adaptability to changing consumer requirements and business circumstances. Organizations employ a variety of approaches to structure the process of recognising and acting on opportunities for improvement. Six Sigma, Kaizen, Lean, and the Toyota Production System are examples of prevalent approaches. Although these approaches differ, they all share a common foundation in the continuous improvement paradigm and principles.

Small tweaks, rather than significant paradigm leaps or new breakthroughs, lead to improvements. One percent improvement a month leads to a 12% improvement annually. Employee suggestions are quite helpful. When Employees take ownership and are involved in incremental changes, which are often affordable to execute, improvement occurs.

And finally…one more thought.

Customers are the lifeblood of every organization, and this is something that every organization understands, or should understand. As a result, their pleasure is critical to the organization’s success, which may be secured by providing exceptional customer service. Customer happiness, brand image, and revenue growth have all been shown to improve when BCM is implemented. BCM is critical in this age of unpredictability, and enterprises are encouraged to use it to provide corporate stability and sufficiency for ever-changing client demands.

The Michael White Group International is an approved PECB ISO Standard(s) training provider. It all starts with a conversation.

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