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United States

Extend Digital, Data-Driven Government to Federal Government’S Support for Communities (US0092)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: United States Action Plan 2015-2017

Action Plan Cycle: 2015

Status: Inactive

Institutions

Lead Institution: The Administration

Support Institution(s): NA

Policy Areas

Capacity Building, E-Government

IRM Review

IRM Report: United States End-of-Term IRM Report 2015-2017, United States Mid-Term Report 2015-2017

Starred: No

Early Results: Marginal

Design i

Verifiable: No

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information Technology

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

The Administration has been expanding work in digital, data-driven government to support better Federal agency service delivery. A next phase of this work will leverage technology and innovation tools and open data to extend, embed, and fill gaps in the Federal government’s work with local communities. The Administration commits to working across Federal agencies to increase access to tools that ease collaboration across Federal agencies and with local partners, build Federal teams to develop lasting local capacity and increase partnerships between the Federal government and local innovators, and tailor high-value open data sets and visualization tools for the needs of local communities. These efforts will add capacity at the local level, improve the effectiveness of Federal support for communities, and spur civic innovation that improves economic growth, access to services, access to opportunity, and community resilience

IRM Midterm Status Summary

IRM End of Term Status Summary

Commitment 40. Support Communities Through Data-Driven Government

Commitment Text:

Extend Digital, Data-Driven Government to Federal Government’s Support for Communities

The Administration has been expanding work in digital, data-driven government to support better Federal agency service delivery. A next phase of this work will leverage technology and innovation tools and open data to extend, embed, and fill gaps in the Federal government’s work with local communities. The Administration commits to working across Federal agencies to increase access to tools that ease collaboration across Federal agencies and with local partners, build Federal teams to develop lasting local capacity and increase partnerships between the Federal government and local innovators, and tailor high-value open data sets and visualization tools for the needs of local communities. These efforts will add capacity at the local level, improve the effectiveness of Federal support for communities, and spur civic innovation that improves economic growth, access to services, access to opportunity, and community resilience.

Responsible Institution: Office of Management and Budget

Supporting Institutions: Federal agencies, state and local government leaders, civil society stakeholders

Start Date: Not Specified End Date: Not Specified

Commitment Aim

This commitment aimed to leverage technology and open data to fill gaps in the federal government’s work with local communities, specifically by increasing access to collaboration tools, building local capacity and partnerships between federal agencies and local innovators, and tailoring impactful data and related visualization tools to serve local communities.

Status

Midterm: Limited

At the midterm, the government had made limited progress on this commitment. Per the government’s midterm self-assessment report, in May 2016, the federal government launched a Community of Practice for Community Solutions,[1] which is comprised of a group of federal experts who work with local communities, and hosts bi-weekly “Innovation Exchange” webinars on local challenges.[2] The Community of Practice for Community Solutions—which was the initiative most directly in line with the commitment text during the reporting period—did not appear to engage in any concrete activities aside from the Innovation Exchanges by the close of the midterm reporting period (June 2016).

From May-June 2016, the Community of Practice for Community Solutions held a series of multi-day trainings on “Delivering Outcomes for Communities”[3] at the office of the Partnership for Public Service in Washington, DC. The training focused on three main issues:

  • navigating local government, with an eye toward using “high-value resources” and creating partnerships across agencies;
  • navigating local communities, with an eye toward understanding how local governments and their partners operate, and how they can be utilized to improve local outcomes;
  • and partnering effectively with community stakeholders.

The training included a series of presentations on the aforementioned topics, as well as a resource fair for participants to engage with representatives from federal agencies and immersive case study workshops. The training was attended by local government officials, federal government officials, and civil society organizations that operate in local communities, and it included over 40 speakers.[4]

Separately, the US General Services Administration’s 18F unit launched efforts to enhance digital service delivery in states and “localities,” and announced consulting services for federally-funded local government projects in February 2016, with a particular focus on Information Technology (IT) projects.[5]

In conjunction with the San Francisco mayor’s office, the US Department of Commerce, and the Data Innovate Lab, 18F also helped launch the SuperPublic Innovation Lab, with an emphasis on addressing urban problems.[6] These initiatives, while promising, are limited in scope and speak less directly to the commitment text than the activities related to the Community of Practice for Community Solutions.

End of term: Limited

At the end of term, progress on this commitment remains limited. The IRM researcher was unable to verify if the Community of Practice for Community Solutions mentioned above carried out any activities post-midterm. In February 2018, the group’s website was taken down and is no longer accessible.[7]

While the Community of Practice did carry out trainings in the first year of the action plan that lay the groundwork for future partnerships across federal and local government, the training itself—the main activity carried out by the Community of Practice during the reporting period—does not directly serve to increase access to collaboration tools, fill data gaps, tailor data and visualization tools, or build local capacity. For this reason, completion on this commitment remains limited at the end of term.

Did It Open Government?

Access to Information: Marginal

This commitment marginally opened government with respect to access to information by facilitating an exchange of information across federal and local government actors and civil society organizations, specifically through the trainings organized by the Community of Practice for Community Solutions in May–June 2016. However, the one-off nature of the trainings and the lack of clear follow-up activities—such as plans for subsequent trainings that would respond more directly to the activities described in the commitment text—mitigate a more substantial opening of government.

Carried Forward?

At the time of writing, the US government had not published its fourth national action plan, so it is unclear if this commitment will be carried forward. The Community of Practice for Community Solutions should nevertheless aim to implement more routine training programs and engage in activities that respond more directly to the goals envisioned under this commitment going forward. In addition, if this theme is included in a future action plan, it is important that the government outline measurable and ambitious changes in government practice envisioned as part of the commitment.


[1] Open Government Partnership. “United States of America Midterm Self-Assessment Report for the Open Government Partnership: Third Open Government National Action Plan, 2015–2017.” pp.40-41. September 2016. https://www.opengovpartnership.org/wp-content/uploads/2001/01/USA_NAP3_self-assessment-report_20160916.pdf. Consulted 2 October 2017.

[2] Community of Practice for Community Solutions Website. “Innovation Exchange.” https://communitysolutions.sites.usa.gov/category/innovation-exchange/. Consulted 1 October 2017.

[3] Community of Practice for Community Solutions. “Delivering Outcomes for Communities Training.” 23 June 2016. https://communitysolutions.sites.usa.gov/category/training/. Consulted 22 September 2017. Note that these trainings were not assessed at the midterm and are therefore being assessed here.

[4] Community of Practice for Community Solutions. “Delivering Outcomes for Communities Training: Agenda.” 23 June 2016. https://s3.amazonaws.com/sitesusa/wp-content/uploads/sites/1061/2016/06/Delivering-Outcomes-for-Communities-Speakers-Agenda-All-Sessions.pdf. Consulted 22 September 2017. See also Community of Practice for Community Solutions. “Delivering Outcomes for Communities Training: Agenda: Speaker Contact List.” 23 June 2016. https://s3.amazonaws.com/sitesusa/wp-content/uploads/sites/1061/2016/06/Speaker-Contact-List.pdf. Consulted 22 September 2017.

[5] 18F. “About Us.” https://18f.gsa.gov/about/. Consulted 1 July 2017. See also Shueh, Jason. “Feds Extend 18F’s Silicon Valley Expertise to Cities, States.” GovTech. https://web.archive.org/web/20170519061303/http:/www.govtech.com/federal/Feds-Extend-18Fs-Silicon-Valley-Expertise-to-Cities-States.html. Consulted 1 July 2017.

[6] U.S. Department of Commerce. “San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, US Department of Commerce, GSA Administrator Denise Turner Roth, and City Innovate Foundation Announce First-of-Its-Kind Innovation Lab Bringing Public, Private and Non-Profit Sectors Together to Solve Urban Problems.” Press Release. 10 May 2016. https://www.commerce.gov/news/press-releases/2016/05/san-francisco-mayor-ed-lee-us-department-commerce-gsa-administrator. Consulted 1 July 2017.

[7] Please see the Community Solutions webpage. https://communitysolutions.sites.usa.gov/


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