Council embracing new ways to communicate
It’s a brave new digital world and Whangārei District Council is working hard to ensure we’re matching pace. It’s no easy feat as technology seems to be advancing faster than ever — but we’re making big moves in the right direction.
This year we’ve been focusing on improving our online communications and digital engagement, giving people an easier, more direct way of interacting with council. We’re modernising our technology and digitising our archives, using secure cloud storage for safety and ease of access. We conducted a percentage of our customer satisfaction surveys online for the first time this year and feedback was positive. We’re busy creating Whangārei’s first digital council and these developments will help us stay in touch, while giving everyone the ability to have their say on the development of our district.
One of the biggest changes we’re working on at the moment is the development of our new website. This will have a huge impact on how we are able to connect with people, offering a clearer avenue for finding information, getting in touch and learning about council processes. It’s a big project, and we’re working hard to make sure that the ‘user journey’ is as simple and direct as possible.
This new website is going to be an interactive tool, offering you portals with real-time information, video tutorials and an up-to-date knowledge base. People will be able to submit and track service requests, make submissions on plans, submit applications, register dogs, track and monitor progress on requests; all online.
We all know how pervasive social media is. Love it or hate it, it’s a fact of modern life and is a major communication channel for many people living in our district. Council has embraced social media as a fast, effective means of connecting people, replying to comments and questions quickly and with as much detail as possible. We’re finding that more and more people are choosing to interact with us in this way, and we’re loving the opportunity to get on board with discussions on many local issues. We’re also noticing that we’re able to reach a better cross section of society and together with our new website platform, we’re looking forward to tightly integrating our social media and online services.
We’re also considering increasing our response hours to include after hours and weekends, giving the people in our district real-time responses to their queries as efficiently as possible. Society is going more digital, and so are we.
We’re not just modernising our communications, we’re upgrading our technology too. Our contractors out in the field are using smarter mobile technology to speed up processes, reducing paper waste and increasing efficiency.
We’re digitising our records, offering online Land Information Memorandums (LIMS) and giving you the ability to view and analyse our district plan policies online using GIS mapping, so you can see what policies apply to each property. In the future, anything to do with your property you will be able to research and access yourself.
It’s an exciting new age and I’m delighted to be working together with such a forwardthinking council, embracing the opportunities provided by modern technology. As a famous Kiwi once said: it won’t happen overnight, but it will happen.