The City of Asheville’s Office of Data and Performance (ODAP) was created to increase transparency in government and to empower the community and City staff to use data for equitable outcomes, accountability, and communication. ODAP has been fully staffed for 100 days and has already been involved in a number of external and internal activities to advance this mission.
Cross-departmental and collaborative by design, ODAP maintains a particularly close operational relationship with Communication and Public Engagement (CAPE), the Office of Equity and Inclusion, and Budget since accountability to the community, equity, and effective use of resources are core to everything we do.
This close collaboration was realized during ODAP’s first 100 days in the City’s Fiscal Year 2022 budget process, a collaborative effort led by the City’s Budget Division in partnership with ODAP, the Communication and Public Engagement Department, and the Office of Equity and Inclusion. This year’s process focused on assessing the impact of City services on residents who experience the greatest inequities and identifying strategies to improve.
The Office of Data and Performance has partnered with other departments and community members on projects that include a summary analysis of the latest National Community Survey data and working with speakers to gather and create visualizations of up-to-date data for an Information and Truth Telling Speaker Series presentation as part of the initial launching of the conversation about Reparations. ODAP staff have also carried out a series of informational interviews with local community and neighborhood leaders, introducing ODAP and learning community priorities for the City’s data efforts.
Internally, the Office of Data and Performance has continued to conduct training in Results-Based Accountability (RBA), an outcomes-focused data-driven decision-making framework that is being introduced to guide departmental decision-making, as well as providing technical assistance for departmental projects. We also submitted documentation on our data and performance efforts toward achieving What Works Cities certification, a nationally recognized standard of excellence in data practice, nearly doubling our score over our last assessment in mid-2019 and putting certification within easy reach for next year.
“I am excited about working with this great new team and about the strong initial steps we’ve taken to lay a foundation for a culture of data-driven accountability in the City. Ultimately our goal is for everyone in our community to understand what the City of Asheville is doing and why, and to have a chance to shape the outcomes that will directly impact them by helping us to define what successful delivery looks like,” said ODAP Manager Eric Jackson.
“ODAP’s support in the FY22 budget process helped the City to navigate a unique time of shifting priorities and uncertain economic conditions,” said City Budget Manager Taylor Floyd. “Through improved community engagement and an internal process to assess the impact of City services on community members, staff developed a budget reflective of community input, Council priorities, and operational needs. We hope to build on this work to create meaningful change in our community, like improving access to information and services provided by the City.“
Keep up with our progress
More information regarding the Office of Data and Performance, its mission and current projects can be found on its regularly updated web page, or by contacting Eric Jackson, Office of Data & Performance Manager, at email@example.com. Beginning in the fall, the Office of Data and Performance will begin publishing a quarterly newsletter.