Avoid the Three Pitfalls of Transparency
“ClerkBase has saved us time by allowing us to go paperless! We save a great deal of time (and paper!) because we no longer have to make copies of all of the backup material of the agenda items for the Council members (and the public)–they view everything online. We just scan the material and ClerkBase links it to the agendas (which is also a timesaver)…and then they link the material to the meeting minutes once they are adopted.”
The purpose of transparency is to build trust, accountability and participation between a government entity and its constituency.
It sounds simple, but often municipalities find pitfalls that make achieving transparency difficult. Maybe these sound familiar:
- Productivity loss
- Technology confusion
- Prohibitive cost
ClerkBase is here to help municipalities find solutions. We keep it simple, and let you get back to work.
1. PRODUCTIVITY LOSS
A transparency solution should not create more work, but integrate into the existing work flow. Whether you’re using an in-house solution or bringing in professionals, avoid requiring staff to learn a complicated new system or adding more tasks. It takes staff away from their primary function: serving your constituents.
Information should be easy to find. It’s not enough to put documents online. However elegant your document organization, if people can’t find what they’re looking for, your solution is useless. Retrieval should be fast and accurate in order to reduce requests of staff, and reduce research time. Done correctly, your solution should increase productivity because of faster retrieval time and decreased requests for documents both internally and externally.
2. TECHNOLOGY CONFUSION
There shouldn’t be a “learning curve” in your transparency solution. Whether the confusion is on your end or the resident’s, sorting out and explaining how to use your solution is a waste of valuable time. Accessing data should be simple and intuitive. If it isn’t, ask why. And be prepared for a complicated explanation.
When deciding on a transparency solution, you want one that’s easy to use, for you and your residents. It won’t save you time and money if you spend your time explaining to residents how to find what they’re looking for.
3. PROHIBITIVE COST
There’s no doubt that transparency solutions can be prohibitively expensive. The technology, software, upgrades, support, training and extras can drive the price of a solution to tens of thousands of dollars. Worse, there’s little guarantee that the cost of the solution you purchase this year will stay stable in the future.
Many companies are offering deep discounts to get a contract, and then doubling or tripling their prices at renewal time. Because you use their software and have adapted to their work flow requirements, they believe they have a captive audience. Not true. ClerkBase is a service, so it doesn’t matter what system you might be using when you start with us. We take your agenda, minutes and supporting materials and do the work for you,. Because of this, there is no need for expensive upgrades, no time lost with training or technology “crashes.” We also own our own servers, rather than renting them from a third party, which further reduces costs.