Public Comments Now Being Accepted on City’s Planned Open Data Program

The City of Sioux Falls is working to make more data available to the public with the help of What Works Cities partners. The City is establishing an open data program and has drafted a document to guide the internal collection and distribution of City data. The public has the opportunity to comment and provide suggestions on the guidance document at www.siouxfalls.org/wwc. The site will be available until Monday, November 13, 2017.

The goal of the open data program is to make the City’s data more available to the public to help improve service delivery; increase transparency and access to public information; and enhance coordination and efficiency among departments, partner organizations, and residents. In many other cities, the public has been able to evaluate this data and use it to suggest creative solutions to issues that a local government may be facing.

What We Need From You
We need your help to launch an open data program that works for the residents of Sioux Falls!

Go to www.siouxfalls.org/wwc to read through the City’s open data program guidance document. At that site, you also can comment on, edit, or simply support or oppose the document.

The draft guidance document is being hosted on Madison, a free, open source tool that opens up documents to individuals and the online community. The platform allows you to leave comments, annotate specific content, and interact with other participants.

Why This Matters
Your feedback can improve the City’s open data practices by ensuring that the open data program meets your needs. If it doesn’t, we’d like to know why. Participating in this process will help the City build community involvement as open data becomes a growing part of the City’s work.

In July, Mayor Mike Huether announced that Sioux Falls had been selected to participate in Bloomberg Philanthropies’ What Works Cities initiative, one of the largest-ever philanthropic efforts to enhance the use of data and evidence in the public sector. As part of the What Works Cities initiative, Sioux Falls will improve open data practices to make public information more accessible and to engage residents around government priorities and services. The project includes creating an inventory of the City’s data resources; developing a plan for data governance; making data available to the public and City staff in a more useful and responsive way; and helping City staff to maximize the use of data in their daily work. The first area of municipal government to undergo the work is neighborhood services, including code enforcement, with the goal of making the process replicable for other departments and divisions.

This effort is a milestone in the ongoing project. What Works Cities collaborates with participating municipalities to review their current use of data and evidence, understand where they are utilizing best practices, and identify areas for growth. The City of Sioux Falls worked with experts from the Sunlight Foundation to craft the guidance document.

About What Works Cities:
What Works Cities, launched in April 2015, is one of the largest-ever philanthropic efforts to enhance cities’ use of data and evidence. Through the initiative’s expert partners, which are providing technical assistance to 100 cities on a rolling basis through 2018, cities around the country are receiving support, guidance, and resources to succeed. In 2016, What Works Cities was named by Forbes as “one of the ten most promising philanthropic bets” of the year and by Engaging Local Government Leaders as the “most important company operating in the local government arena.” In March 2017, the initiative launched What Works Cities Certification, the first-ever national standard for data-driven governance. The report, “What Works Cities: How Local Governments Are Changing Lives,” released in June 2017 summarizes cities’ accomplishments with the initiative. For more information, visit whatworkscities.org.