Kansas City Measures Performance through Online Dashboard

GovTech: “To follow through on its commitment to provide more visibility into city performance, Kansas City, Mo., launched KCStat Dashboard on Oct. 22, an online tool that displays progress on city goals and objectives.
Developed by government data company Socrata, the dashboard is the city’s way of offering residents more information about government performance with real-time data, said Julie Steenson, a performance analyst for the city. Upon full implementation, the dashboard will display various statistics, from citizen satisfaction percentages to progress on maintenance and repair tasks.
“It’s been a real evolutionary project,” Steenson said. “We never had a way for the citizens or even the elected officials to see our data at a glance.”
Kansas City’s KCStat program began in December 2011 as a data collection effort that focused on service areas that drew a significant number of public complaints: street maintenance, water line maintenance, water billing, customer service, code enforcement and animal control.
In January, the city council updated its 24 major priorities (developed with public input) into six key areas — public infrastructure, economic development, public safety, healthy communities, neighborhood livability and governance — and sought a way to make their ambitions both measurable and publicly available.
Answering this call, Socrata offered the city a platform called GovStat, a program it announced in March as a way for government leaders to integrate data to decision-making while engaging citizens at the same time.
Key features of the platform, according to Socrata’s March product announcement, include an easy-to-use interface (without the need for user licenses), and real-time dashboards that can be shared through a simple drag-and-drop system.
Mayor Sly James praised the tool for its benefits related to transparency.
“The KCStat Dashboard is the city’s way of helping residents see how we’re doing at our job of serving them,” said James in a city release. “Our residents deserve nothing less than a city government based on data-driven results, and KCStat is a great tool for benchmarking our results.”