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Washington, DC Recognized by Bloomberg Philanthropies for Use of Data to Improve Delivery of Government Services

Thursday, April 25, 2019
DC Government Awarded the Gold Award in 2019

(Washington, DC) – Bloomberg Philanthropies announced that Washington, DC is one of seven cities to achieve 2019 What Works Cities Certification, a national standard of excellence in city governance. What Works Cities Certification evaluates how well cities are managed by measuring the extent to which city leaders incorporate data and evidence in their decision-making. The District achieved certification at the gold level, increasing from its silver award in 2018.

“Good use of data, evidence, and technology goes hand in hand with good government,” said Mayor Muriel Bowser. “In DC, we’ve been very intentional about using a data-driven approach to service delivery and it’s working - from Temporary Assistance for Needy Families to our dockless bikeshare system to the Right Care, Right Now nurse triage program, we’re finding new ways to make programs and services work better for our residents and visitors.”

The District’s accomplishments highlighted in this year’s gold certification include the strategic use of The Lab @ DC, a nationally recognized program that better enables DC Government to use scientific insights and methods to test and improve policies.

“Data helps city leaders understand problems and measure success, and it helps citizens hold government accountable for meeting public needs on all the big challenges we face – from promoting health and safety to fighting climate change,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies and three-term Mayor of New York City. “Congratulations to all the cities that earned certification this year. Their efforts are improving lives locally and setting an example that can spread nationally.”

“We are proud to celebrate Washington, DC, and the other certified cities and recognize their achievements for others to learn from,” said Simone Brody, Executive Director of What Works Cities. “These well-managed cities are better solving the problems facing their communities and addressing residents’ needs. They are stretching every dollar by using data to set priorities, budget effectively, and ensure investments are yielding desired results. They are also putting data at the core of their efforts to prepare for future challenges.”

In preparing for the What Works Cities review, Mayor Bowser assembled a team of data experts from the Office of the City Administrator, the Office of the Chief Technology Officer, the Office of Contracting and Procurement, and the Lab @ DC to lead the comprehensive effort. Beginning in the fall of 2018, the team worked across multiple district agencies to assess overall effective use of data and evidence in each certification factor which include:

  • Data Governance
  • Evaluations
  • General Management
  • Open Data
  • Performance & Analytics
  • Repurposing
  • Results-driven Contracting
  • Stakeholder Engagement.

The team was then required to demonstrate to What Works Cities that policies were in place to manage sophisticated data practices and that the District publicly communicates its use of data via stakeholder engagement. The final stage of the review included What Works Cities experts and members of the What Works Cities Certification Standard Committee, leaders in the field from more than a dozen organizations that support cities, completing a detailed interview to determine the District’s certification level.

The What Works Cities Certification program launched in April 2017, and U.S. cities with populations of 30,000 and higher are eligible to participate. Cities are awarded silver, gold, or platinum certification depending on their level of data sophistication. The certification program was developed by a team of experts in close consultation with the What Works Cities Certification Standard Committee. The seven 2019 certified cities were identified from over 90 assessments.