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Albuquerque to Join What Works Cities Initiative

Fifty-five cities are now committed to making government more effective using data & evidence.

October 27, 2016

Albuquerque, NM – Today, Mayor Richard Berry announced that Albuquerque has been selected as one of 16 new cities to participate in Bloomberg Philanthropies’ What Work Cities initiative – one of the largest-ever philanthropic efforts to enhance the use of data and evidence in the public sector. Albuquerque will receive technical assistance from world-class experts to build capacity to address local issues.

Albuquerque’s selection comes as the growing national movement, launched in April 2015, reaches a critical benchmark: 55 mid-sized U.S. cities are now working to better use data and evidence to improve services for residents, inform local decision-making and engage citizens. All together, these 55 cities come from 33 states, represent 19 million residents and have annual budgets exceeding $63 billion. The initiative will partner with 100 cities on rolling basis through 2018.

 “We are thrilled to welcome these new cities to the initiative, furthering our mission to help cities leverage data and evidence to improve their residents’ lives,” said Simone Brody, Executive Director of What Works Cities. “We’re proud to add the commitment of these 16 new and innovative cities to this national movement.”
With support from a consortium of partners, these cities are identifying more effective ways to evaluate programs and improve performance; use resources to serve their communities; and address a range of social challenges – from tackling poverty to increasing resident engagement. Another key benefit is joining What Works Cities’ growing national network of local leaders and global experts actively sharing best practices for outcomes-focused government.

Albuquerque and the following cities are the latest to publicly commit to enhancing their use of data and evidence to improve services, inform local decision-making and engage residents in Birmingham, AL; Boulder, CO; Des Moines, IA; Fort Worth, TX; Hartford, CT; Knoxville, TN; Lincoln, NE; Madison, WI; Nashville, TN; Olathe, KS; Portland, OR; Salt Lake City, UT; South Bend, IN; Syracuse, NY; and Virginia Beach, VA.

City of Albuquerque’s What Work Cities agenda is based around open data and low cost evaluations (to help improve key areas within education, employment, procurement, communication, budgeting, economic development, race equity and enhancing quality of Albuquerque’s resident’s lives.  The work around open data will focus on increasing resident engagement with the City by strengthening its data governance processes and resources, starting a comprehensive inventory of the city's data resources, and Improving access to the open data portal internally and externally.  The Low Cost Evaluations work will look into increasing the effectiveness of the City’s day-to-day operations and aid departmental decision making by integrating low-cost evaluation into the planning of new initiatives as well as improvements to existing practice.  The first project is currently underway exploring behavioral insights around the City’s Efficiency, Stewardship & Accountability Program which awards employees who come up with cost savings ideas for the city.  Although an already effective program, the City of Albuquerque would like to increase the number of submissions and participants by exploring different avenues and behavior shifts to empower more city employees to come forward with ideas how to improve their departments.

In 18 short months, What Works cities has stimulated the largest movement of cities and city leaders across the country sharing lessons and best practices to improve the effectiveness of government. The initiative has inspired 90 U.S. mayors to better use data and evidence to improve services and has engaged over 1,700 city employees on performance management, analytics and other leading practices. What Works Cities has produced 130 resources that cities around the world are using to improve their communities and drive better outcomes for residents.

The consortium of leading organizations assembled by Bloomberg Philanthropies and delivering a program of support to cities includes the Behavioral Insights Team, the Center for Government Excellence at Johns Hopkins University, the Government Performance Lab at the Harvard Kennedy School, Results for America and the Sunlight Foundation.

The 16 new cities join the following 39 cities as What Works Cities: Anchorage, AK; Baltimore, MD; Buffalo, NY; Bellevue, WA; Boston, MA; Cambridge, MA; Cape Coral, FL; Chattanooga, TN; Charlotte, NC; Denton, TX; Denver, CO; Fort Lauderdale, FL; Greensboro, NC; Gresham, OR; Independence, MO; Jackson, MS; Kansas City, KS; Kansas City, MO; Las Vegas, NV; Lexington, KY; Little Rock, AR; Louisville, KY; Mesa, AZ; Milwaukee, WI; Naperville, IL; New Orleans, LA; Providence, RI; Raleigh, NC; San Francisco, CA; San Jose, CA; Seattle, WA; Scottsdale, AZ; Saint Paul, MN; Tacoma, WA; Topeka, KS; Tulsa, OK, Victorville, CA; Waco, TX; and Wichita, KS.

To receive updates on the What Works Cities initiative, please visit www.whatworkscities.org.