Richard Harman blogs at Politik:
MPs today heard a revealing account of antiquated systems within the Auckland Council’s Building Control Department.
The Department — which deals with over 17,000 applications for building consents a year – does most of its work on paper.
Sarah Lineham, Sector Manager, Local Government at the Office of the Auditor General told Parliament’s Finance and Expenditure Committee that the Council used approximately $3.5 million of paper in the building consents department because only a few applications were handled online.
That’s a staggering total.
She was being questioned on a report on the Auckland Council’s handling of Building Consents which said that the reliance on paper within the department meant that staff spent 6000 hours a year simply scanning application documents.
That’s three staff who do nothing but scan documents in!
It said staff at one architectural firm estimated that they used two kilometres of A1-size paper a month, much of it for building consent applications.
The Council should make a priority to have an online tool for consent applications. Not just to save millions of dollars of paper, but actually to simplify and speed up the whole process. Ideally consent applications that conform with the unitary plan should be able to be approved with no human review – just like registering a company – all automated.