Purpose of Practice
The documents were produced to ensure consistency and offer the public accessible, user friendly information by means of a booklet titled, “How to Apply for a New or Transfer, Annual Alcohol License in Montgomery County” to help expedite and encourage the licensing application process.
Description of Practice
Providing accessible resources on the licensing process is important to ensure timeliness and efficiency. The Licensing, Regulation and Education Division of the DLC worked with a contractor to put together and evaluate process flow and develop a comprehensive, internal Standard Operating Procedure (SOP). The document is intended to help maintain consistency, share process information with the public and help build a department wide consensus of procedures. Along with the development of the SOP an informational piece geared towards potential licensees was created to stream line information and make the licensing process as convenient and uncomplicated as possible. A printable guide titled “How to Apply for a New or Transfer Annual Alcohol License in Montgomery County” was created, edited and designed in house, by the Outreach Office, and posted on the department’s website. To be able to complete the Standard Operating Procedures and Public Manual in a time of budget cuts, the Montgomery County Department of Liquor Control’s Outreach Office applied for and received a small grant from the National Alcohol Beverage Control Association (NABCA). Anonymous, paper evaluations will be distributed throughout 2010 to all new licensees to evaluate the Department of Liquor Controls licensing process. The documents will help streamline information and make it all available in one place. The creation of these documents has opened the lines of communication for future re-evaluation and updates to keep up with the needs of those applying for an alcohol license in Montgomery County.
Success or Improvements
Promotion of licensing information is now being done electronically through the county web-site. The external guide was designed in house using Adobe Creative Suite. Licensing applications and other related materials have been posted on the web site as well, to set up a one stop shop for information and resources. Streamlining the licensing process, both internally and for the public, has allowed an increase in clarity, accessibility and a modernized information sharing service to the county’s business community. The Department of Liquor Control, for the first time, has an easy accessible “How to Guide” posted on the web-site. Sections of information can be researched or the document can be used as a step by step guide to obtaining an alcohol license. The guide has already been shared with the National Alcohol Beverage Control Association (NABCA) to be used as a national model for Control Jurisdiction states. The formulation of an SOP has also allowed for resource sharing with other departments within the county as well as with counterparts in every county throughout the state. The initiative to find funding for the licensing process evaluation has benefited small businesses by ensuring consistent implementation. Benefits also reach other Maryland counties through shared insight on performance initiatives and promotion of written procedures, as a tool for enhanced efficiency. Program outcomes also include: - National use of the Public Manual as a guide for other control jurisdictions. - An SOP to be used and updated continually by licensing staff. - A department wide understanding of licensing protocol. - A Public Manual to help potential licensees through the licensing process. - An updated website that conveys step by step licensing information to the public. - Enhanced licensing staff productivity; answers to questions and processes can be easily obtained beforehand, allowing licensing staff to process licenses faster.
Evaluation of the Practice
The licensing process is evaluated through paper surveys. Program success is also demonstrated in the cooperative collaboration between department staff as well as the information sharing that has increased the efficiency and efficacy of potential licensees. Through this preparedness, staff has reduced the time spent on reviewing license applications. Requests for copies of informational licensing manuals have been numerous. Montgomery County’s business community has benefited immensely from the clarity and ease of use of the document, “How to Apply for a New or Transfer Annual Alcohol License”. Information sharing saves time and builds the county’s capacity to serve as a resource to licensed businesses. The documents improve administrative processes, are cost effective, and advance the training of county employees. Further, this project standardizes internal policies and helps support the business community, a collective goal that produces safe and prosperous communities.
Currently a contestant for the 2009 NACO Award for Public Service.
Name: Emily DeTitt, Community Outreach Prog. Manager
Agency: Montgomery County Department of Liquor Control
Address: 16650 Crabbs Branch Way , Rockville, MD 20855, Rockville, MD 20855