The City of Charleston is proud to announce the launch of a new online, data-driven performance management hub focused on improving the efficiency and effectiveness of City services. The hub was created as part of Charleston’s participation in What Works Cities
, a Bloomberg Philanthropies-launched initiative that helps cities use data and evidence to tackle their most pressing challenges and improves residents’ lives.
Mayor John Tecklenburg announced in July 2017 that Charleston had been selected to join the initiative. Charleston received technical assistance from experts at What Works Cities partner the Center for Government Excellence
(GovEx) at Johns Hopkins University to advance practices in performance management and analytics.
“Cities that put data and facts at the foundation of decision-making demonstrate their commitment to building the most effective local government possible,” said Simone Brody, Executive Director of What Works Cities. “By tracking and evaluating progress toward its goals on its new hub, Charleston is focusing on achieving results.”
Charleston’s engagement with What Works Cities has focused on the City’s affordable housing and homelessness priorities – specifically gaining a greater understanding of the effectiveness of programs and initiatives related to housing affordability and persons experiencing homelessness. The project has assisted policymakers in understanding the scope of those two pressing challenges, and in developing effective solutions that address them at their root, and to determine whether, over the long term, those solutions are working.
Mayor John Tecklenburg said, “What Works Cities, along with the experts at GovEx, helped provide the tools and skills we need to create a rigorous, data-driven accountability system. With this hub, citizens will be able to understand through statistical charts and graphs where we’re succeeding and where there’s still work to be done.”
Charleston collaborated with GovEx to refine and strengthen performance measures related to the City’s efforts to reduce the number of persons experiencing homelessness and increase affordable housing citywide. As a starting point, there are now five related outcome-based key performance indicators (KPIs) that are being publicly tracked on this new hub. Tracking progress toward these priority goals will both strengthen accountability and lead to better results for our community. GovEx also provided City staff with assistance to strengthen data collection, analytics and visualization, as well as established a way to routinely update and engage community stakeholders.
“Charleston’s work highlights what’s possible when cities take an outcome-oriented approach to alleviating the impact of homelessness and housing scarcity,” said Chris Rieth, Senior Implementation Advisor at GovEx. “Our work together has laid the foundation for data analysis to surface new insights that can inform city leadership and partners, and improve outcomes for the people of Charleston.”
The new publicly available hub will also be used by City staff, particularly during regular performance management Stat Meetings, where staff will review and discuss data and analysis to elevate issues, propose solutions, and request resources. “Future Stat Meetings are critical to turn information into insight,” said Susan Poteat, the City’s Director of Process and Service Improvement. Stat Meetings will ultimately empower the City to use data proactively and collaboratively across departments to drive performance improvement.
This project built a critical foundation for performance management and analytics in Charleston that can now be replicated across additional citywide priorities.
The hub is being launched as a beta version initially, as it will evolve based on community feedback and as the City’s use of data and analysis grows. The hub can be found on the City’s website at: www.charleston-sc.gov/performance
About What Works Cities:
What Work Cities, launched by Bloomberg Philanthropies in April 2015, helps local governments across the country use data and evidence to tackle their most pressing challenges and improve residents’ lives. The initiative’s What Works Cities Certification program has set the national standard of excellence for data-driven, well-managed local government. By aspiring toward Certification and implementing the program’s best practices, cities across the country are more effectively driving change and delivering results for residents. With support from the initiative’s expert partners, local governments are building the capacity and skills to make more informed decisions and deliver more effective services and programs. For more information, visit whatworkscities.org.