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Data and Government: Making the Information Matter

Data and Government: Making the Information Matter

What is data? Data is facts or information used usually to calculate, analyze, or plan something. So how can something as simple as data be used to improve government? That was the question addressed at the December 11 NGA Expert Roundtable Discussions on "Using Data and Evidence to Improve Policy, Programs, and Practice" in Washington, DC.

These expert roundtables are a part of NGA Chair and Governor of Colorado, John Hickenlooper's "Delivering Results" initiative. Dean Stotler, CPO for the State of Delaware and Past President of NASPO and NASPO Director of Strategic Programs, Krista Ferrell attended on NASPO's behalf. Attendees included representatives from the National Governor's Association (NGA), National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO), National Association of Chief Information Officers (NASCIO), as well as academics, authors, and vendors.

Among the topics discussed were the use of data and metrics in delivering governmental services. Focusing on performance management system, using evidence and data in operational functions of government, capitalizing on graphic information system to visualize data, and leveraging performance based metrics. Pay for performance and other performance based contracting methods, social impact bonds, and rapid cycle evaluation were also focal areas of discussion.

Prior to the NGA Roundtable Discussions, NASPO polled the membership concerning state government practices regarding performance-based contracting. It was found that some states, such as Florida and Maine have statutory requirements to use performance based contracting for all of their human service contracts. Iowa and Mississippi also use performance based contracting when awarding child welfare contracts. The State of Washington issued an Executive Order in 2010 directing all state cabinet agencies to meet performance based contracting standards in all new contract for both goods and services. Alaska has recognized success in their performance based contract for travel services that has been in place since 2009. Data and performance metrics are key in the management of these types of contracts. Measurements such as past performance, safety, claims history, past satisfaction, cost, response time, and maintaining required staffing levels topped the list of measurable performance outputs.

NASPO would like to extend our appreciation to our strategic partner, the National Governors Association for the opportunity to participate in this informative and productive discussion.
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