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  • Success Story
  • Horowhenua DC, NZ

How Horowhenua District Council Modernised its Dog Registration Renewal Process


Horowhenua District is a territorial authority district on the west coast of the North Island of New Zealand. With its population on the rise, the district sought a way to reduce customer bottlenecks and improve service delivery. By implementing Granicus’ digital website platform and digitised workflows, Horowhenua District Council introduced online dog registration renewals to the community, which helped alleviate customer pain points and streamline processes for staff.

“[OpenCities and OpenForms helped us] deploy intuitive and engaging solutions which deliver on our digital transformation values of innovation, creativity, and best practice.”
Joanna Cooney, Digital Channels Lead, Horowhenua District Council


  • 10 weeks of time saved over two years
  • 1,705 renewals completed online in one year
  • 34% increase in number of dogs renewed online in one year
  • 24% decrease in number of dogs renewed in-person over two years
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A heavy time burden for staff and poor experience for residents

Each year, Horowhenua District Council received mostly paper-based dog registration renewal forms. Residents physically brought these forms into customer service centres, inundating staff with time-consuming payment and data processing. Additionally, residents were accruing penalty fees if renewals were not completed by 31 July. Horowhenua District Council wanted to digitise the registration process to help increase online renewals and improve engagement opportunities for residents.


Integrating digital solutions to achieve communication goals

Horowhenua District Council launched its online renewal registration form in 2017 and has remained focused on continuous improvement every year since. The council had been successfully using its OpenCities and OpenForms solutions separately but brought them together to produce measurable results.

Branded as Paws Online, Horowhenua District Council integrated the digital website platform and its digitised workflows to achieve several high-level objectives. In addition to driving more people to the website, the district needed digital solutions to help:

  • Increase sign-ups to email renewal reminders.
  • Present reminders in an engaging and empowering way.
  • Reduce the workload on customer-facing staff.
  • Improve data integrity of dog owner information.

Digital transformation results with modernised processes

Upon integrating the website and digital workflow solutions, Horowhenua District Council reaped strong results for staff and residents alike. Moving renewals online reduced the workload on customer-facing staff, resulting in 1,705 renewals completed online in 2022 for the July/August period—nearly 150 in the first day alone. The new process also created an increased proactive response from the public, empowering residents to engage with the council using different methods at more convenient times. Dog owners have expressed satisfaction with the new process, thanking the council for offering the service and commenting on the easy functionality of the online form.

Implementing the online platform also led to a 24% decrease in in-person registrations over two years, and a 34% increase in the number of dogs registered online in just one year. This jump in online renewals increased the revenue collected online by 10% year-on-year. Staff also developed pre-templated letters that optimised the distribution of new dog tags and saved their compliance customer support officer an estimated 10 weeks of time over a two-year period.

Improved reporting has streamlined the capture of internet banking payments and allocation of tag numbers. As a result, dog renewal registrations paid via internet banking could be included in the generation of pre-templated letters. This greatly enhanced time efficiencies and improved reporting on payments processed through online banking, when compared to renewals done online and in person.

In addition to the improvements for its dog registration renewals, the council also used the same technology investment (middleware) to implement various time-saving efficiencies for its Finance and Parking teams as well. The middleware is designed to be process independent and effectively speeds up the time to market for integrating its online forms with business processes.

“[Using OpenCities and OpenForms] was part of our digital transformation journey and didn’t require expensive or specialty web development.”
Joanna Cooney, Digital Channels Lead, Horowhenua District Council