Accessible Database

  • Using computer software, local authorities can now index and code submissions. They can also use databases for correspondence, submission analysis and report preparation, and decision-making. Many local authorities have successfully developed and used databases using Microsoft Access© software throughout the entire process (from notification through to Environment Court references). However, a database is only as good as:
    • the analysis, coding and data entry of submissions;
    • the software support; and
    • the people using it.
  • The tracking and analysis process should be kept relatively simple (for example, analyse submissions according to all of the rules say on waahi tapu or setback requirements, not according to each individual rule that may apply throughout the Plan). Tracking submissions according to Plan page numbers is also a good technique.
  • Using a computer database requires the assistance of a technical support person throughout the process. Technical support staff should understand the present and future requirements for the database; be able to think laterally; and be involved in defining the coding process. For example, the system should be able to deal with changes in addresses for service, names of contacts, or submitters' names (such as company name changes), preferably avoiding the need for multiple data entry. A method for tracking submissions that have been withdrawn or not pursued needs to be considered.
  • Database users - planners and administration support - should be familiar with the database, rather than learning by experience. Prepare a manual to support use of the database over time by different people, and to ensure consistency in input and output over time.