Over the last decade, the City of Asheville has worked to build a data culture to drive policy development and support decision making. Beginning in 2012 with the City’s first open data efforts, the City has steadily built data capacity. Over the past two years, these efforts have culminated in a multidisciplinary governance team with leadership from several departments that is encouraging departure from previous City Hall norms and beginning to build a new results-focused, data-driven culture.
The Asheville community deserves clear, understandable communication about what our programs intend to achieve, how they are expected to achieve it, and data that indicates whether they are being successful. Asheville staff deserves actionable data on program performance, and a results-based approach to improvement.
In support of this, we are pleased to announce the City has taken steps to organize our internal structure by creating the Office of Data and Performance. This is a cross-departmental function created by City Manager Debra Campbell and managed by the IT Services Department. The office will work with departments to embed the use of the Results-based Accountability™ (RBA) framework into the practices and processes of the organization. By using the RBA framework, the City will have greater accountability to the community and practice better communication in terms of results.
To maximize impact, we will begin by integrating RBA and equity into the Fiscal Year 2021-2022 budget planning process so that equitable, data-driven, outcomes-based accountability, decision-making and transparency are tied to our resource investment decisions.
In the near future, look for two new exciting job opportunities in our IT Services Department that will support our data and performance program. We will be hiring a Performance Analyst to support a disciplined approach to clearly defining community and program outcomes and using data to assess and improve performance. We will also hire a Data Communications Specialist to help understand and present program performance and progress toward community goals in ways that are truly accessible, presenting not just numbers, but the stories and context behind the numbers.
In January 2021, the City will host a virtual engagement event to introduce the Office of Data and Performance and welcome questions from the community. Staff will share our plans for engaging the community and the tools we will use to share results. Look for information in the new year.
For questions about the Office of Data and Performance, please contact Eric Jackson, the Data and Performance program manager.