Money reallocated in the budget as part of Reimagining Public Safety is being reinvested into a new initiative designed to increase transparency in government and provide data-driven accountability to our community.
During their Jan. 26 meeting, staff provided an update to City Council on the City’s newly launched Office of Data and Performance. Staff explained how this effort will use data to drive decisions and accountability.
Organized as a cross-departmental team managed by IT Services, the team will consist of staff from Budget, Community Engagement, Equity, GIS, and Police, plus three IT open data staff members. Money to fund these positions came from the reallocation of $770,000 in Asheville Police Department funds approved by Council on Sept. 22, 2020. (For a breakdown of that reallocation to various departments, see slide 13 in the City Manager’s Recommended Budget Amendment presentation.)
This effort will build on the City’s previous data efforts, including the Open Data Portal, designed to connect residents with City records and information. The Office’s mission is to empower both the community and City staff to use data to improve outcomes, accountability, and communication. It will be used to:
- Understand the impacts of services and projects;
- Establish baselines for improvement and benchmarks to maintain performance; and
- Identify issues and respond proactively.
As part of the feedback loop, the Office of Data and Performance will build direct relationships with community groups to help City staff identify outcomes and determine how progress will be measured. The Racial Equity Toolkit will be deployed as part of this effort, as will the Results-Based Accountability (RBA) framework.
“We will also continue to create and evolve transparency tools for community use on City dashboards, the Open Data Portal, SimpliCity and through GIS,” said Office of Data and Performance Manager Eric Jackson.
IT Services is currently hiring staff for this team. In its first year, the Office of Data and Performance will
- Support budget process;
- Support Advancing Racial Equity in Asheville initiative;
- Build relationships in the community; and
- Identify the best way to keep the community informed.
On Jan. 21, City staff held a remote orientation and community question-and-answer session about the Office of Data and Performance. The session is archived on the City’s YouTube channel at this link.
Questions? Please contact Eric Jackson at firstname.lastname@example.org.