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Know Your WWC Criteria: Data Analysis for Decision-Making

Blog Post
What Works Cities certification provides a national standard for management of local governments using data and evidence. In this blog series, we highlight WWC certification criteria and what the City of Portland is doing to achieve them.
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Performance & Analytics Criterion 6:  Use of Data Analysis for Decision-Making

One of the WWC criteria is Performance & Analytics Criterion 6: Your local government leaders have the ability to access and incorporate data analysis when necessary for strategic decision-making.

A blue banner across the top of this infographic reads "Certification Criteria" and shows the What Works Cities and Bloomberg Philanthropies logos. Icons arranged in two rows read "Data Governance," "Evaluations," "Performance & Analytics," "Open Data," "General Management," "Repurposing," "Results-Driven Contracting," and "Stakeholder Engagement."

Embedding analytics into Citywide decision-making processes enables faster and more sophisticated decisions. This criterion alludes to the ability of Portland's elected and bureau leaders to access information produced from analytic tools and techniques for strategic decision-making. Some of these techniques include descriptive analysis (averages, counts, maximums/minimums), diagnostic analysis (regression, correlation, data mining), geospatial analysis, and prescriptive analysis (algorithms).

Although data alone doesn’t turn things around, it provides evidence that decision-makers can use to make better decisions. Bureau data analysis can also be used to work across the City’s operational silos. Data analytics has the power to improve outcomes for Portlanders, but only if our government leaders have the training and tools to access that information when needed. With the right access, data analysis can help our leaders develop and monitor progress towards goals while informing solutions, supporting employee empowerment, and improving engagement with community members.

This year, Portland’s What Works Portland Steering Committee will be working with the Citywide Performance Advisory Committee to design nuanced training that draws from bureau case studies and highlights the links between data analysis, performance management, and decision-making. We work towards a vision where all City employees can consistently access quality data and incorporate analysis when designing programs to serve people experiencing homelessness, shape policy for low-income households, or provide direct services to Portlanders.

How does data analysis shape decision-making in your bureau? Take our 2-question survey to let us know!