Mar 2013 01

Mayor Mitch Lan­drieu announced major mile­stones in the City of New Orleans’ efforts to cre­ate a One Stop Shop to improve and stream­line the cus­tomer expe­ri­ence related to secur­ing per­mits and licenses. All depart­ments expected to be co-located in the phys­i­cal space, includ­ing City Plan­ning Com­mis­sion, His­toric Dis­tricts Land­marks Com­mis­sion, Safety & Per­mits, and Vieux Carre Com­mis­sion will com­plete mov­ing in by the end of the week.  Addi­tion­ally, the City today launched a new web­site for per­mit­ting func­tions, as well as the abil­i­ties to apply and pay online for build­ing and demo­li­tion per­mits.  A for­mal rib­bon cut­ting cer­e­mony will be held in March. Today’s mile­stone is only part of the Administration’s plan to cre­ate more effec­tive and customer-friendly City gov­ern­ment, as addi­tional enhance­ments will be rolled out in the com­ing months, includ­ing expanded abil­ity for cus­tomers to track requests.

When we took office, we said that we wanted to mod­ern­ize and improve City gov­ern­ment,” said Mayor Lan­drieu. “The One Stop Shop is evi­dence of our com­mit­ment to stream­line the per­mit­ting process. We are find­ing ways to be as effi­cient and effec­tive as pos­si­ble by focus­ing on the cus­tomer. Those who do busi­ness with the City of New Orleans will soon find that our new sys­tems and the co-location will pro­vide them a wel­com­ing, com­fort­able and func­tional experience. ”

The One Stop Shop, located at on the sev­enth floor of City Hall (Room 7W03), brings together the Safety & Per­mits, City Plan­ning Com­mis­sion, His­toric Dis­trict Land­marks Com­mis­sion, and the Vieux Carré Com­mis­sion. This phys­i­cal site enhances the cus­tomer expe­ri­ence by pro­vid­ing an eas­ier, sin­gle point of entry for appli­cants and by improv­ing the review process through cross-departmental col­lab­o­ra­tion.  Per­mit­ting and licens­ing agen­cies that remain off­site will be able to receive, review, and process appli­ca­tions using a recently intro­duced enter­prise sys­tem, and with the ben­e­fit of new, updated dig­i­tal zon­ing infor­ma­tion.  The appli­ca­tion for other per­mits and licenses, includ­ing occu­pa­tional licenses and may­oralty per­mits from the Bureau of Rev­enue, will also start in the One Stop Shop.

In addi­tion to the VCC’s new daily pres­ence at the One Stop Shop, on Mon­days, Wednes­days, and Fri­days, from 9am to 11am, a VCC staff mem­ber will host office hours at the Royal Street loca­tion for drop-ins and gen­eral ques­tions. While the Royal Street loca­tion will cease accept­ing appli­ca­tions they will be able to pro­vide infor­ma­tion about nec­es­sary doc­u­ments required for cer­tain per­mits. The new oper­a­tions struc­ture of VCC will allow for more inspec­tions and for VCC staff to be more effective.

First Deputy Mayor  and Chief Admin­is­tra­tive Offi­cer Andy Kop­plin said, “With col­lab­o­ra­tion and agency align­ment we will be able to pro­vide bet­ter ser­vice to our cus­tomers and offer a com­pre­hen­sive sys­tem that will be model for other cities.”

In addi­tion to co-location and soft­ware improve­ments, the City also intro­duced ini­tia­tives to min­i­mize wait times and vis­its to City Hall, while max­i­miz­ing access to infor­ma­tion for customers:

  • The One Stop Shop intake fea­tures a queu­ing man­age­ment sys­tem that tracks cus­tomer flow from arrival to exit in order to reduce wait times and improve com­mu­ni­ca­tion with cus­tomers in the intake area.
  •   One Stop Online (http://www.nola.gov/onestop), fea­tures cen­tral­ized, detailed, infor­ma­tion for every per­mit and license type includ­ing fees, required steps to obtain the per­mit, the issu­ing agency and renewal infor­ma­tion. You can also find the new One Stop App, cur­rently in beta with build­ing per­mits, which allows appli­cants to sub­mit appli­ca­tions, down­load related doc­u­ments, request inspec­tions, and query the sta­tus of their appli­ca­tion elec­tron­i­cally. The col­lab­o­ra­tion between the City’s Infor­ma­tion, Tech­nol­ogy and Inno­va­tion (ITI) Office and the soft­ware ven­dor (The Dav­en­port Group) is a first-of-its-kind and will invite con­tin­u­ous improve­ments in response to pub­lic feed­back while in the beta test­ing phase.

By the end of sum­mer 2013, cus­tomers can also expect the fol­low­ing upgrades:

  • Front line per­mit and licens­ing intake staff who reg­u­larly par­tic­i­pate in cus­tomer ser­vice and cross-departmental train­ing to ensure ser­vice level standards;
  • The abil­ity to start, track and pay fees for busi­ness, and spe­cial event related per­mit and license appli­ca­tions remotely through nola.gov/onestop;
  • Accep­tance of major credit cards (Visa [online only], Mas­ter Card, Dis­cover) as pay­ment meth­ods for per­mits and licenses;
  • Online access to accu­rate zon­ing and con­di­tional use maps  that will fos­ter eco­nomic devel­op­ment, by pro­vid­ing accu­rate infor­ma­tion to the pub­lic regard­ing allowed uses on prop­er­ties includ­ing approved con­di­tional uses;
  • Redesigned per­mit and license appli­ca­tions that pro­vide clear and con­cise infor­ma­tion regard­ing sub­mis­sion require­ments, for­mat­ted to reflect key process changes;
  • Analy­sis of reg­u­larly con­ducted cus­tomer sur­veys used to guide improve­ments to the per­mit­ting and licens­ing processes; and
  • Con­sol­i­da­tion of per­mit and license types to sim­plify the appli­cant expe­ri­ence along with com­pre­hen­sive per­mit and licens­ing guides for appli­cants (through­out 2013).

The devel­op­ment of the City’s One Stop Shop was iden­ti­fied as a pri­or­ity in 2010 by the Cus­tomer Ser­vice Task Force on Mayor Landrieu’s Tran­si­tion Team and efforts were con­tin­ued through facil­i­tated focus groups in 2011. In 2012, the Mayor’s Inno­va­tion Deliv­ery Team pro­vided addi­tional capac­ity by ini­ti­at­ing a com­pre­hen­sive cus­tomer sat­is­fac­tion sur­vey and by advanc­ing key ini­tia­tives related to reduc­ing wait and pro­cess­ing times for City ser­vices. The 2012 sur­vey polled over 600 cit­i­zens about their expe­ri­ence as per­mit and license appli­cants and was used to refine and enhance One Stop goals.   In last 18 months, inter­nal stake­hold­ers from the nearly 17 depart­ments and agen­cies involved in per­mit­ting and licens­ing have part­nered with exter­nal groups from key indus­tries to respond to the his­tory of cit­i­zen requests for per­mit­ting process improvements.

The One Stop Shop will be open dur­ing reg­u­lar busi­ness hours for City Hall, Mon­day – Fri­day from 8-5pm. Please visit http://www.nola.gov/onestop or call (504) 658 –7100 for more information.

In addi­tion to the One Stop Shop, Mayor Lan­drieu has worked to sig­nif­i­cantly improve cus­tomer ser­vice at City Hall includ­ing mov­ing back to a 5-day work week, cre­at­ing a staffed wel­come and infor­ma­tion desk in the City Hall main lobby, revamp­ing and redesign­ing the City’s web­site– nola.gov, and launch­ing NOLA 311 for con­stituents to report and track most qual­ity of life com­plaints and ser­vice requests.