While minimal resources are often made available to provide code compliance services, demands for service have increased. Many communities have not invested in appropriate technologies that would facilitate a more efficient approach to code service delivery. The need for enhanced enforcement has also increased the burden on Code Compliance Officers to report and follow-up on a variety of ancillary issues that are traditionally handled by other service or functional areas. Exacerbating the problem of how to deal effectively and efficiently with these additional service demands are increased resident needs for “specialized” services.
Many communities follow the traditional approach to providing code compliance services, which gives limited authority to Officers, places restrictions on the specific issues each functional area can address and creates costly and duplicative processes (i.e. vehicles; data management; travel time; etc.). A more efficient approach allows for greater enforcement flexibility by concentrating the management, oversight, and responsibilities of performing a diverse number of inspections, enforcement and compliance tasks in a single division. Often compliance staff is often unable to address or resolve certain field-related issues without the need for referral to another functional area of the municipality. For example, if a Code Compliance Officer visits a restaurant to follow-up on a complaint about illegal signage, and he or she notices that the business does not have a business license or a Fats, Oils, and Grease Certificate, he or she would traditionally have to contact a different work unit to send a separate inspector to verify non-compliance and issue a violations notice when/if appropriate.
This fragmented approach to Code Compliance and Enforcement is highly inefficient, as these redundancies cost the municipality in higher resource utilization and decreased service delivery. This approach also delays response times, has a negative effect on public expectations, and diminishes the municipality’s capacity to promptly remediate existing problems. As your community continues to seek cost-saving opportunities, the idea of consolidating inspection, compliance, and regulatory enforcement services should be considered a strategic priority.