The diverse group of local governments that returned this survey gave a snapshot of how this pandemic fast-tracked change and technological transformation in the sector.
The initial lockdown brought about a number of challenges. For the majority of respondents, these included:
• Procuring IT equipment including laptops
• Finding virtual solutions for council and staff meetings alike
Unique challenges arose showcasing the diverse nature and operations of the local governments that serve British Columbians. While many northern communities reported connectivity issues, other local governments struggled with space constraints caused by the need for social distancing.
Despite these challenges, many finance officers shared achievements brought about by the necessity for quick change including:
• New or improved digitization of office records
• Increase in electronic options available to the public and customers
In some local governments, necessity sped the implementation of services that reduced customer visits to municipal hall, including:
• Online payment via credit card
• E-billing for both utilities and property taxes
Finance officers also shared several unexpected positive outcomes of remote work:
• Flexible work hours and the opportunity to attend personal appointments without taking time off
• Reduced commutes resulting in increased leisure time and reduced emissions
• Minimized interruptions led to better productivity for some staff
The challenge was enormous, and finance officers stepped up to ensure local government operations were minimally impacted by the global pandemic. Some of the changes will undoubtedly have a long-term impact on how local governments operate in British Columbia.
Thank you to all who participated in this questionnaire. The online Forum is a great place to continue the conversation.
If you have a topic for a future quarterly question please contact the office at firstname.lastname@example.org or (250) 382-6871.