The Office of Data and Performance (ODAP) has been fully-staffed and operational for a full year. ODAP is a part of the City of Asheville’s IT Services Department, and focuses on integrating data-driven decision making methodologies into City projects and initiatives. During its first year of operation, ODAP has participated in a number of City projects that advance the office’s mission “to empower the community and City staff to use data for equitable outcomes, accountability, and communication.”
“It has been an exciting first year of operation,” said Eric Jackson, the manager of ODAP. “I am gratified that we have been able to have significant impact over these past twelve months. I am particularly grateful for all the ways that City staff have embraced the opportunity to improve our decision-making, with a focus on outcomes and the use of data to track our progress.”
Two recently completed projects include the homeless point-in-time (PIT) count dashboard and the ARPA RFP evaluation process.
The PIT count dashboard presents the results of the 2021 annual count of people experiencing homelessness, people either in emergency shelters or transitional housing, and those who are unsheltered.
ODAP also helped create an easy-to-use evaluation process for projects proposed in response to the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) request for proposals, and supported Finance Department staff in the evaluation process itself. The process was carefully designed to align with the principles adopted by City Council: use an equity lens, invest in resilience, align with strategic priorities, focus on measurable impact, leverage community partnerships, and consider the long-term results our community would like to achieve.
ODAP has also engaged with the community on a consistent basis in its first year of operation. ODAP’s community engagement has been based upon two projects: a boards and commissions “roadshow” and a set of community conversations.
For the roadshow, ODAP is meeting with all the City advisory boards and commissions to introduce ODAP staff, our mission, the methodology behind our work, and how boards and commissions can incorporate the methodology into their own work. We have met with eight boards so far.
Our community conversations project focuses on hearing directly from community members and stakeholders to gather narrative baseline data around City Council priorities and their perceptions on community investment by the City.
In addition to these efforts, ODAP is providing ongoing data support for the Reparations process and working with the Planning and Urban Design Department to develop reporting on Council priorities and progress of our community’s comprehensive plan adopted by Council in 2018. Internally, the office continues to provide training on data-driven decision making for City staff (60 attendees in 8 classes) and to publish internal and external newsletters (with 21 and 2 issues, respectively, so far).
Additional detail on completed and ongoing projects may be found in the latest issue of the Asheville Data News newsletter.
For more information on ODAP, contact Eric Jackson, Manager, Office of Data & Performance, IT Services at firstname.lastname@example.org.