SURREY, B.C. – The City of Surrey has reconfigured its permitting process in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and early data shows promising improvements.
“The City of Surrey is continually looking on how to innovate and improve our services,” said Mayor Doug McCallum in a press release. “During this pandemic, we have accelerated the modernization and digitization of our permitting process. The results so far have shown a win-win situation for those applying for permits with faster issuance of permits, enhanced service and improved transparency.”
The city launched the Contact Centre in March to leverage shorter, more frequent, digital engagements with clients.
Data since the shift has shown the new process has not only been able to cut down on face-to-face interaction, but also operate more efficiently:
Former in-person permitting model
- 3,000 front counter visits per month
- Wait time six minutes (average)
- Paper plans and applications
- In-person payments (debit, cheques, cash)
- No after-hours opportunities
New Contact Centre model
- 4,500 calls and 590 emails per month
- Phone wait time 1:20 minutes (average)
- Digital plans and applications
- Remote payments (credit cards)
- 14 per cent of emails received after hours
City officials added in August, 98 per cent of electrical permits and 76 per cent of plumbing permits were issued online, with 40 per cent of trade permits being initiated outside of regular business hours.