Tool 1: Maximizing Capacity for Strategic Code Enforcement
Strategic code enforcement is a system where legal tools, human and technology resources and effective strategies are aligned to maximize compliance with codes and responsible standards by the owners of property in the community. Many cities devote only limited resources to code enforcement. In recent years, as a result of fiscal pressures, those resources have dwindled even further. To create an effective system, cities must use their resources as efficiently as possible, deploying them in a way that creates the greatest impact on properties and neighborhoods.
Key steps toward maximizing capacity include looking at the following elements:
Technology can be deployed to maximize the amount of time inspectors are in the field, speed the flow of information between city agencies, prosecutors and the courts, foster accountability and track results.
Building staff capacity – not just knowledge of codes, but skills at customer relations and their ability to use technology – is critical. When hiring new inspectors and other staff, managers should look for individuals with advanced skill sets in those areas.
Put systems in place to maximize effective management of staff resources, to establish a speedy and seamless system by which cases move through the enforcement process and to ensure that code enforcement activities are coordinated with the activities of other city departments and agencies.
Targeting and priorities
Put systems in place to focus resources around target areas and categories, and to determine which problems will be given priority.
Build strong working relationships with neighborhood residents, organizations and CDCs to capitalize on their abilities and resources and leverage public resources.
Build an information system that tracks properties and neighborhoods is a critical tool for rational decision-making and priority-setting, as well as ensuring accountability and measuring results.