Philadelpha establishes open data policy, creates chief data officer role

Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter has signed an executive order to establish an Open Data policy, which will provide increased access and will enhance the transparency of City data sets. The Executive Order creates a Chief Data Officer (CDO) position, which will oversee and enforce the Open Data Policy and will report to the Chief Information Officer (CIO). Philadelphia residents will also be given the opportunity to participate in city agency decisions through an open government portal.

The open data policy will put city data online. Citizens will also be able to provide feedback and assessments of the data sets provided through the open government portal.

“Transparency is a cornerstone of good governance, and it is vital for the City to be open and available to our citizens,” said Mayor Nutter. “Philadelphia was recently named at the seventh most social media savvy city in the nation. The Open Data policy furthers many of the policies and initiatives already put in place by the City.”

The Executive Order also established an Open Data Working Group which will be tasked with enhancing internal transparency, accountability, participation and collaboration through the Open Data policy and will develop the Open Government Portal. One the first round of policies are implemented the Mayor will appoint a Data Governance Advisory Board to oversee the ongoing implementation of Open Data initiatives.

Also adopted in this Executive Order is the City’s internal social media policy, which outlines the acceptable use of social media by City employees overseen by the CIO and Mayor’s Director of Communications and Strategic Partnerships.

The full text of the Executive Order is available here.

Throughout Mayor Nutter’s tenure, Philadelphia has been actively engaged in launching more civic technology initiatives. In 2010, Philadelphia was named one of the first Code for America cities. Code for America provides cities with civic technologists who work with local governments to leverage technology to provide better public service. The city is also working to provide public access to the internet through an initiative called KEYSPOTS which will establish neighborhood computing centers.

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