City of Los Angeles Launches New Open Data Portal

December 5, 2013 10:13 am PDT

Office of the Controller Partners with Socrata to Improve Financial Transparency, Increase Government Efficiency, and Boost Citywide Innovation


SEATTLE  – December 4, 2013 – Los Angeles City Controller Ron Galperin and open data solutions company Socrata recently launched an open data and financial transparency portal, ControlPanel LA, to give the public greater insight and access to city services and stimulate new business activity based upon ready access to government data.

Partnering with cloud-based, open data software provider Socrata, Los Angeles will provide both the public and government leaders with new applications to review city programs and hold city government accountable – in terms of how money is spent, revenues are collected, and employees and vendors are compensated.

The Socrata platform will also enable Los Angeles to engage in a robust discussion with the press, public, private sector and elected leaders about how to make government more efficient; ways data can be used to improve the quality of public services; and how the use of public data will support and enhance private-sector innovation.

“Knowledge is power, and this initiative is about delivering both to the people of Los Angeles,” says Galperin. “Through our open data effort, we hope to increase transparency and access for the public and find innovative ways to use public data to improve the lives of everyday Angelenos.”

“Governments across the United States are the holders of vast amounts of data relating to areas that have major impacts on citizens’ day-to-day lives – streets, infrastructure, crime, and, of course, information regarding how government spends tax revenues.”

The system includes a “Checkbook Explorer” app that will allow citizens to go online and see how public officials are spending taxpayer money – down to check-level detail. This entire system is automated, providing the public access 24-hours a day, 7 days a week to information that was previously on available through the unwieldy process of the Public Records Act.

Already, ControlPanel LA is being used by press, the public, and city leaders to shape public policy and political reporting. For example, a city councilmember, using the data on the site, researched accountability for a department that had been using overtime and bonus pay at a faster rate than the year before, and reporters have been using information from the ControlPanel to inform stories about parking fees, public employee compensation, and payments to city vendors.

Continues Galperin: “Open data has a broad array of impacts. One of the challenges open data helps address is enhancing internal oversight and the ability of civic leaders to understand the vast and complex entities they are tasked to manage. With the data at their fingertips, decision makers have easy access to data that previously required weeks and months to produce and allows them to view the data in ways that can shed new light on critical city-wide and departmental issues. We also are engaging civic activists, hackers, and developers in order to leverage their energy and know-how. This will put our data to work and build a better city for all Angelenos.”

“Cities like Los Angeles are the hubs of data innovation right now,” adds Kevin Merritt, CEO and Founder of Socrata. “The breakthrough programs and cutting-edge initiatives they are instituting will ripple across the country, and the world, to change the way citizens interact with government. We are seeing the open data future unfold right here.”

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