Engaging Stakeholders Through Every Step of the Legislative Process
- Replaced printing and hand-delivery of legislation
- Ended version control issues
- Gave critical stakeholders real-time access to the legislative workflow
- Saved paper
- Allowed for more enforceable submission deadlines
- Formed partnerships between departments
Not unlike many local government organizations across North America, prior to 2015, the City of Seattle’s legislative and agenda preparation process was one layered with many steps and paper-heavy workflows.
The workflow relied on manual steps, with key stakeholders – agenda item submitters, committee clerks, department heads, and elected officials – lacking critical visibility and insight to the entirety of the legislative process.
In 2014, the City sought to purchase a solution to better manage the City’s workflow process and generation and publication of Council Committee agendas and supporting material.
A MANUAL, PAPER-HEAVY PROCESS
Prior to adopting a legislative management system, departments within the City of Seattle created a physical file folder with hard-copy approval forms for hand delivery through the review workflow through various Executive departments. Legislation was ultimately delivered to the Clerk’s Office for review and agenda production.
With an average of 600-700 pieces of legislation introduced each year, it was often difficult to track the status of the legislation as it moved through the review process, as there was no ability to track legislation in real-time.
Finally, the process of making legislation available for the public required a complicated and complex file and content conversion system that was used to convert agendas and legislation for publication online. It was a multi-step system that required a meticulous code reformatting of each agenda by someone with a level of technical expertise that was difficult for most users to manage, and consumed time going back and forth between Committee Clerks and Deputy City Clerks in order to finalize agendas and load them for publication online.
PREPARING FOR AN OVERHAUL
By the end of 2013, the City’s legislative process had been mapped, with a project management team delivering a needs analysis in cooperation with legislative, executive, legal and budget stakeholders based on documented, specific workflows for each step.
Through an RFP process, the City selected Granicus’ Legistar system to streamline the way the City of Seattle prepared for public meetings.
LEGISTAR SHINES IN SEATTLE
Since launching Legistar in early 2015, the City Clerk’s Office continues to maintain oversight of the entire process, but now, legislative coordinators in each department have access to track the progress of department-generated legislation in real-time. The time- and paper-intensive system of printed legislation and hand-delivered folders has disappeared.
Legistar has allowed the Deputy City Clerks to manage the agenda process with greater efficiency, and once the agenda is finalized and approved, publication to the City Clerk’s website is completed with just a few clicks, replacing the complicated coding method of the previous system.
- Agency Type: City
- Population: 652,405
- Solution: Legistar
- Number of legislative items each year: 600-700