#DataNews: A What Works Cities Certification Program, OPEN Government Act Progress, & More

March 30, 2017 12:00 pm PST | Data as a Service

This week brings the launch of a What Works Cities certification program that will assess cities’ data practices, and then award them with silver, gold, or platinum status. “The certification will help cities know where to look for good practices,” said former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg during the second annual What Works Cities Summit. Plus, why performance measurement matters more than ever with looming budget cuts, the OPEN Government Act’s next move, and much more.

OPINION: Time to Recognize Innovation in City Governance

“With the looming potential of funding cuts, cities are again turning to data to measure the success and sustainability of their programs. Why use a cleaver to make a uniform 10 percent budget cut across the city, when you can use data to identify programs that aren’t producing results, and just shift funding from them? Or test an improvement to a program to see if it can produce greater returns, instead of eliminating it? Cities are answering these questions in increasingly inventive and effective ways and, if we can draw attention to their innovations and experience, all levels of government stand to benefit.” Read more from the Hill.

Agencies Need to Get Savvy About Low-Cost Program Evaluation

“If President Trump’s budget blueprint is any indication, most agencies soon will face significant budget cuts. That makes it more important than ever to get the most impact from every program dollar. To do that, agencies will need to use rigorous program evaluation to learn what works and what doesn’t, and to improve program results….Those strategies include, first, making greater use of existing data that agencies and their partners already collect. When these administrative data are accurate and applicable to important questions about program efficacy, using them for evaluation can eliminate the need for more costly data collection approaches that often involve tracking down study sample members and gathering survey data.” Read more from Government Executive.

Camden Council Launches Open Data Platform

“Camden Council has launched Open Data Camden, a platform that aims to enable businesses, residents and community groups to get access to important information about the area….The new platform features information on a range of Council-related activities, including parking bays, planning applications, housing stock and road accidents. Other datasets include spending on contractors, housing repairs and ‘assets of community value’. Residents and businesses can request specific datasets to be considered for inclusion on the platform in the future. The software behind Open Data Camden is provided by Socrata, a US technology vendor.” Read more from V3.

What Works Cities Launches New Certification Program for Municipal Data Practices

“The Bloomberg Philanthropies announced a new certification program for municipal data-driven governance as part of its growing What Works Cities initiative on Tuesday. ‘The certification will help cities know where to look for good practices,’ former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg told a gathering in lower Manhattan that attracted more than 350 municipal leaders and practitioners from around the nation, who are some of the brightest minds in data analytics and performance.” Read more from Route Fifty.

House Panel Takes on Government Transparency

“Government transparency can take many forms, and not all of them have bipartisan support.  (Congressional Democrats’ demands for President Donald Trump’s tax returns are unlikely to get traction anytime soon, for example.) But at a March 23 House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform hearing, one piece of legislation seemed to resonate on both sides of the aisle: the Open, Public, Electronic and Necessary (OPEN) Government Act.” Read more from FCW.

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