Reducing red tape
A small but significant event occurred in the March committee meeting. Otherwise unreported due to the insignificant impact it will have in the grand scheme of things. It does however signify a change in thinking, and more importantly a change in strategic direction which the council has now given to the officers. (Council set the strategic direction, officers implement the strategy and run the City’s operations)
I have previously written about the efforts in reducing red tape. The planter box guidelines, verge treatments and alfresco changes all signify progress in red tape reduction. More progress came in March after I personally was trying to work out what was required in order to have a front fence built; and I asked why?
Why do I need approval?
I had a registered and highly regarded builder, the place had been surveyed, detailed plans drawn up, the neighbours notified, the R-Codes adhered to. Why do I need to get approval from the City? It comes at a financial and time cost to me. It is also a cost to the City. I don’t believe it even offers protection that the job will be done properly; a resident can submit one thing and then do another – is the City monitoring the depth of the footings? Does the City check the work afterwards? So why?
Because it’s the rules, and so I did.
But I had this mindset, and slight annoyance, at the committee meeting when some policies were being reviewed, and one of them was ‘Temporary Advertising Signs – Community Based Organisations Policy’. I questioned why, if the policy states the rules, does an application even need to be made? Even with an approval, the rules can still be broken, so it seems a pointless, time-consuming exercise for both the City and any applicants.
Council agreed to scrap the policy and just have a guideline for people to follow, and where they don’t need to get approval if they abide by the guidelines. Within a day the guidelines had been created and the following week they were up on the web. I believe this concept – people not needing approval if the rules/guidelines are followed – can be rolled out in many more areas.
Anyway, to the few who will ever need to use the ‘Temporary Advertising Guidelines for Community Based Events’, this is a win for you. To everyone else, I hope you’ll also have a win soon.
Power to the People.
(Please be aware that these views are my own and have not been endorsed by the City of Bayswater)