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Accela Solutions Enable Manatee County to Process Unprecedented Number of Permits Remotely Amid COVID-19

The leading provider of cloud-based solutions for government, announced that Manatee County, Florida is using its cloud-based solutions to process permits digitally and enable a fully remote workforce amid the global novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. By leveraging Accela’s broad-based offerings, Manatee County has been able to take full operations online and continue business as normal amidst the new work-from-home paradigm. The collaboration demonstrates the heightened need for cities and states to employ digital technology to drive efficiency, fortify resilience, and continue the delivery of critical services.

“Local governments are the backbone of the COVID-19 response,” says Jonathan (JK) Knight, Chief Customer Officer at Accela. “Accela is constantly inspired by the leadership of our government customers like Manatee County and their response to the ever-evolving pandemic. We stand by state and local agencies across the country by offering the best technology available, designed to help them navigate these uncharted waters and emerge from this crisis stronger and equipped to re-start their communities for the future.”

COVID-19 has rapidly increased the pressures and demands on state and local governments. Like other municipalities across the country, Manatee County has been tasked with the enormous challenge of navigating new modes of business operation during “shelter-in-place” mandates to continue delivery of vital citizen services and maintain community wellbeing. By transitioning to online, digital services, the county is in a strong position to continue serving its citizens during this extraordinary time.

“When the COVID-19 ‘shelter-in-place’ orders came in, our agency had two hours to transition to work from home to continue to serve our citizens,” said John Barnott, Director of Building and Development Services at Manatee County Government. “Accela’s Building and Planning solutions enabled us to meet the challenge without skipping a beat. We have been able to continue our usual business activities remotely and processed an unprecedented number of permits in the month of March.”

Manatee County initially adopted Accela in early 2018 to move to the cloud, dramatically accelerate operations, and create new lines of collaboration. At 741 square miles and home to approximately 400,000 citizens, the county had been experiencing vigorous building and development activity, with the sheer volume of property inspections and citizen requests straining the capacity of its old manual processes. Local leaders adapted to the increased workload by transforming property inspection processes with the help of Accela’s Planning and Permitting solutions to automate and streamline over 3,500 inspections a week.

Moving to the cloud has since paid unexpected dividends amidst the current pandemic, which has disrupted workflow processes and significantly multiplied the volume of building and development requests. The county processed an unprecedented 3,097 permit requests this month and can maintain business as usual  in the midst of the “shelter-in-place” order, even with county staff not physically at their desks. Staff members still have the means to conduct work virtually to keep essential processes moving forward, and citizens still have access to make payments or submit requests online.

To help agencies across the country address the impact of COVID-19, Accela recently created a suite of COVID-19 Response Solutions to help keep operations running and citizens safe and healthy during the aggressively growing crisis. These solutions were developed in response to increasing customer demand for digital tools to tackle some of the most critical challenges of the pandemic, and include support for online citizen services, mobile capabilities for agency staff, virtual inspections, and more. They are designed to help make product evaluation and procurement purchasing processes easier and faster for governments and can be rapidly implemented in as little as 24-72 hours to empower agencies to adapt to the circumstances quickly.