Bloomberg Philanthropies announced that Scottsdale is one of seven cities to achieve 2019 What Works Cities Certification, a national standard of excellence in city governance. The Certification rates how well cities are managed by measuring the extent to which city leaders incorporate data and evidence in their decision-making.
Scottsdale achieved Certification at the silver level. The city was recognized for adopting a business mindset to run a well-managed government, embracing transparency, embedding data in decision-making – and several other accomplishments that resulted from those practices.
“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.”
“The credit goes to the professional staff who work for the city,” said Scottsdale mayor W.J. “Jim” Lane. “Our executive leadership are accomplished and highly-regarded professionals who manage all the complexities that come with operating a city like Scottsdale and are committed to making data-driven decisions about services and programs. We strive to provide “Simply Better Service for our World Class Community” and it is wonderful that those efforts have earned this national recognition.”
“We are proud to celebrate Scottsdale 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.”
What Works Cities Certification evaluates cities on factors such as whether they have dedicated staff responsible for helping departments use data to track their progress; whether contracts are awarded based on past performance; meetings are focused on numbers; key datasets are open to the public; and whether there is transparency both in the goals set and the progress toward achieving them. Cities must demonstrate that they have policies in place to manage the risks associated with sophisticated data practices. The program also requires that cities publicly communicate their use of data best practices and engage community stakeholders in the process.
The 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, which comprises leaders in the field from more than a dozen organizations that support cities. What Works Cities experts, along with members of the Standard Committee, then join in-person site visits to the highest-performing cities to determine the city’s Certification level. The seven 2019 certified cities were identified from over 90 assessments.
To date, a total of thirteen cities have achieved Certification:
Arlington, TX (2019 Silver), Boston, MA (2018 Silver), Kansas City, MO (2019 Gold, 2018 Silver), Los Angeles, CA (2018 Gold), Louisville, KY (2019 Gold, 2018 Silver), Memphis, TN (2019 Silver), New Orleans, LA (2018 Silver), Philadelphia, PA (2019 Silver), San Diego, CA (2018 Silver), San Francisco (2018 Silver), Scottsdale, AZ (2019 Silver), Seattle, WA (2018 Silver), and Washington, DC (2019 Gold, 2018 Silver)
Scottsdale is the smallest city to be certified to-date.
About Bloomberg Philanthropies:
Bloomberg Philanthropies works in 480 cities in more than 120 countries around the world to ensure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people. The organization focuses on five key areas for creating lasting change: Arts, Education, Environment, Government Innovation, and Public Health. Bloomberg Philanthropies encompasses all of Michael R. Bloomberg’s charitable activities, including his foundation and his personal giving. In 2018, Bloomberg Philanthropies distributed $767 million. For more information, please visit bloomberg.org or follow Bloomberg Philanthropies on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter.
About What Works Cities:
What Work Cities, a Bloomberg Philanthropies initiative, helps cities use data and evidence to tackle their most pressing challenges and improve residents’ lives. The initiative’s What Works Cities Certification program is the first-of-its-kind national standard of excellence in city governance that evaluates how well cities are managed and whether cities have the right people, processes and policies in place to put data and evidence at the center of decision-making. Through the initiative’s expert partners, cities around the country are receiving support, guidance and resources to succeed. For more information, visit whatworkscities.org.