Environmental permit issued already?

Borsele Municipality launched the optimization of the environmental permit process.
Niels Van Gunst

Thanks to the assistance from Mobius, we are now truly able to work together integrally.

Martijn Priem, Service Provision Programme
Borsele Municipality

Strategic challenge

Municipalities are finding themselves on a dynamic playing field for which both internal and external organisational expectations have changed. This is why it is necessary for municipalities to formulate a clear service vision in order to:

  • Accurately make well-thought-out choices that are in the interests of the citizens;
  • More efficiently carry out activities within the official organisation;
  • Increase the quality of the service.

Therefore, the municipality of Borsele has drawn up a clear service vision in the context of the service provision programme. The vision serves as a guide when making choices in terms of organisational development, employee development, functional support and the set-up of processes. Multiple projects have been formulated based on this programme, and the first project launched is the optimization of the environmental permit process.

This project is taking place during a time in which many changes are occurring in environmental law. For example, in 2010, the Environmental Law (General Provisions) Act (WABO) came into effect and a new, drastic environmental law is in the pipeline for 2018. The changes concerning the environmental permit that were implemented are a major strategic challenge for municipalities. A strategic challenge that Möbius would love to help with!


“The service provision of Borsele municipality to environmental permit applicants is improved by optimizing the WABO process.” The following phased approach is being used.

Phase 1: Preparation & analysis

During the preparations, the project objectives and principles were jointly formulated based on the organisation-wide service vision: focus on the customer, a more efficient working process, optimal use of the digital channels, and simultaneously achieving a higher level of service provision. Main activities in the first phase are:

  • Jointly formulating project objectives and future prospects;
  • Thorough qualitative data analysis of the process;
  • Drawing up a project schedule.
  • Result: insight into the process, support for the project, intended results and future prospects.

Phase 2: Lean workshops

The Möbius Asteria lean game was created in order to raise employee awareness of the lean philosophy and the underlying lean theory. Then the following workshops are organised, during which the current situation is mapped out and so that the new process can then be sketched.

Current situation:

  • Outline of the current process using the SIPOC method;
  • Process sketch of the current situation via brown paper sessions;
  • Problem analysis based on the 8 wastes of lean.

New situation:

  • Formulate improvement proposals;
  • Process sketch of the new process, establish new roles and responsibilities;
  • Detailing of the new process.
  • Result: a thorough reproduction and analysis of the current process leads to the formulation of improvement proposals, which serve as the basis for detailing a new process.

Phase 3: Roll-out & implementation

The third phase is the start of the transition from paper to reality. It is an essential phase that will be instrumental in determining the success of the lean optimization. Main points of the third phase:

Drawing up an implementation plan containing specific actions, actionees and deadlines;

  • Supervising the implementation plan;
  • Pilot: proactively letting the customer test the new process to then implement improvements based on customer feedback.
  • Result: the new process is completely and successfully implemented throughout the organisation.

Phase 4: sustainable establishment

After implementation, the new process must be sustainably established:

  • Setting and monitoring KPIs;
  • Coaching employees in their process of continuous improvement (“Kanban board” sessions on improvement).
  • Result: the new process is thoroughly established within the organisation. The KPIs allow the team to monitor the critical success points in the new process, and based on this improvement culture, process improvements are continuously identified and implemented.


The new process is completely developed based on the wants and expectations of the customer. The following results are achieved in this regard:

  • Reduction of process time: By, among other things, cutting back on the many inspection and transfer moments, the average process duration is reduced by 33%;
  • Change in culture: A culture of continuous improvement is created in which employees gain more responsibility, among other things;
  • Progress information: The customer can review the progress of the application anytime anywhere using the OLO portal;
  • Digitization: a completely digitized application method for the customer (preliminary consultation + application);
  • Cooperation: better alignment and integral process approach with both internal and external parties;
  • Right employee in the right place: Employees are empowered by giving them the right role and responsibilities.

Thanks for reading

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