Enhancing Development Application Processes and Customer Experience: The City of Canada Bay Council’s FLAG Project


The City of Canada Bay Council is committed to delivering quality housing and infrastructure to its vibrant local community in the Inner West of Sydney, Australia. To address challenges in the Development Application (DA) assessment process, the Council embarked on the Faster Local Assessment Grant (FLAG) project. This initiative aimed to streamline operations, reduce delays, and enhance the overall customer experience.


The City of Canada Bay Council recognised the need to address delays in the determination of Development Applications (DAs) and improve the overall customer experience. With an average DA assessment timeframe well beyond the target of 40 days set by the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act, the Council sought to streamline its processes. To achieve this, the City of Canada Bay Council engaged with Procure Spot, leveraging their expertise in change management and process optimisation to effectively identify and implement crucial process improvements.

Under the Faster Local Assessment Grant (FLAG) project, the scope focused on three key areas:

  1. Reduction in Requests for Information (RFIs): The project aimed to minimise the number of RFIs during the DA assessment process. By streamlining internal communication and establishing clearer guidelines and processes, the Council sought to reduce back-and-forth interactions with applicants, ultimately expediting the assessment timeline.
  1. Streamlined Back-End Referral Processes: The Council aimed to enhance the referral processes between different departments and stakeholders involved in the DA assessment. By establishing standardised responses and improving coordination and communication among teams, the Council sought to eliminate bottlenecks and delays caused by inefficient workflows.
  1. Improved Customer Communications and Handling: Recognising the importance of effective customer engagement, the project aimed to enhance communication channels and provide a better experience for applicants throughout the DA assessment process. The Council worked with Procure Spot to implement training sessions for employees, develop guidelines and scripts, and introduce consistent call transfer policies to improve customer satisfaction.


Procure Spot played a crucial role in the successful delivery of the FLAG project for the City of Canada Bay Council. They employed a structured approach that included process improvement using Lean Six Sigma principles, change and knowledge management utilising the PROSCI three-phase process, and technical integration to optimise and streamline the entire Development Application (DA) process. The delivery phase encompassed the following key elements:

1. Change Management Approach: Procure Spot adopted a top-down and bottom-up approach to ensure the successful implementation of changes. This included engaging with leadership to gain buy-in and alignment on project objectives, and then collaborating with on-the-ground teams to understand their perspectives and challenges. This dual approach facilitated smoother transitions and increased overall project acceptance.

2. Implementation of Clearing House Process: The project introduced a new triaging process called the Clearing House. This process aimed to streamline and expedite the initial stages of DA assessment by improving the allocation of resources and providing clearer instructions to DA teams. Through team debriefings, clear conditions of consent, and facilitated training sessions, the Council equipped their DA teams with the necessary tools to implement the Clearing House process effectively.

3. Customer Communication Enhancement: To improve customer experience, the project focused on enhancing communication channels and establishing consistent practices. Procure Spot provided facilitated training sessions to DA teams, equipping them with effective strategies for engaging with applicants. Additionally, the project introduced new guidelines, processes, and call scripts to ensure consistent and professional communication at every touchpoint.


The two-pronged, top-down and bottom-up, approach worked well by ensuring buy-in on the project by both leadership and DA teams. The new Clearing House process was initiated and feedback from the teams involved was overwhelmingly positive and is already starting to show results with fewer RFIs during assessment.

The customer handling training sessions were well received by the DA teams and the supported approach to the customer experience was appreciated. Feedback from training included the following quote: “I really appreciated training today. I found it very useful. The strategies were simple, memorable, and relevant”. Overall, the leadership at the City of Canada Bay Council were extremely happy with all the changes that were implemented and noticed improvements in team positivity and their ability to stay on top of the DA process to meet their goals and customer expectations.

The change management process has enabled the leadership team with follow-up tools and measures (e.g., reporting schedules) to ensure that the implemented changes are enduring and last beyond the completion of the project.

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