Bloomberg Philanthropies Pushes National Standard for Data-Driven Government


The Bloomberg Philanthropies has released a new, proposed national standard for data-driven decision making in local government. The standard is part of it’s What Works Cities Initiative and is called the What Works Cities Certification. What Works Cities is a Bloomberg Philanthropies program that engages with municipal government to improve and support data-driven policies and procedures.

Through the certification program, Bloomberg Philanthropies will publicly recognize the municipal governments that most effectively use data to allocate resources and improve residents’ lives. A team of national experts will assess each city’s data practices, and then award cities with a “platinum,” “gold” or “silver” certification status for achieving excellence in applying data to how they govern.

The program was announced at the second annual What Works Cities Summit, which is convening more than 350 city leaders and experts in the field. At the event, Bloomberg Philanthropies also announced that ten new cities have been selected to join What Works Cities, bringing the initiative to a total of 77 cities, more than three quarters of the way toward its goal of 100 cities.

What Works Cities Certification will be open to all cities in the United States with 30,000 or more residents. Certified cities will be announced annually and any cities that do not initially qualify can reapply every other year.

Several organizations involved with the initiative are also signing on to the certification including Code for America, the National League of Cities and the Ash Center at the Harvard Kennedy School. Each organization has lent their knowledge and experience to What Works Cities Certification, and will be involved in the assessment of certified cities.