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ACCGov Achieves 2nd What Works Cities Silver Certification for Use of Data in Decision Making


The Athens-Clarke County Unified Government (ACCGov) has achieved What Works Cities Certification at the Silver Level for the second time in recognition of its exceptional use of data to guide decision-making and improve residents’ lives.  

What Works Cities Certification - the national standard of excellence in data-driven city governance - evaluates how well cities are managed by measuring the extent to which leaders incorporate data and evidence in their decision-making. The Bloomberg Philanthropies initiative led by Results for America has awarded certification to 74 cities for outstanding data practices since its launch in 2017. 

"From ensuring that residents are safe when they move around town, to keeping our water and sewer systems operating well, to planning for sufficient housing to serve our residents, good use of data is key in everything we do," says Athens-Clarke County Mayor Kelly Girtz. 

The What Works Cities Certification Standard measures a city’s use of data based on 43 criteria. A city that achieves 51–67 percent of the 43 criteria is recognized at the Silver level of Certification, 68–84 percent is recognized at the Gold level, and 85 percent or more is recognized at the Platinum level. ACCGov joins 12 newly-certified cities, six currently-certified cities that have achieved a higher certification level, and three other cities being re-certified. ACCGov first achieved Silver Certification in 2021.

Over the past year, ACCGov has continued to demonstrate measurable progress on foundational data practices. Some notable examples of the ACCGov's use of data include: 

  • A data hub tracking American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) spending and program outcomes was established to illustrate how ACCGov is spending its $57.6 million ARPA allocation.  

  • In response to mass evictions during the pandemic, an Evictions Records Dashboard was created to support housing partners in locating tenants in danger of eviction to determine the action needed for their situation.

  • Previously, a data-informed process was used to rank county-owned properties for their suitability as a government-sanctioned homeless encampment. Once the encampment opened, a dashboard was developed on the ARPA data hub to show performance outcomes for encampment residents. 

  • The Geospatial Information Office supported the Elections Department with a StoryMap on their webpage comparing voter registration and voter turnout for the 2022 elections. 

  • ACCGov's IT Department created a technology governance structure to prioritize systems and coordinate software improvements.

"We are excited to welcome the newly-certified cities and congratulate those cities which have achieved a higher level or re-certified — they have all demonstrated a collective focus on how data can be used to build stronger communities," said Rochelle Haynes, Managing Director of What Works Cities Certification. "These cities understand that local government data use is a pre-condition to solving problems, assessing what is working, and improving how their city halls do business – and they are investing their resources accordingly."

What Work Cities, a Bloomberg Philanthropies initiative led by Results for America, 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 international 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. The program is open to any city in North, Central, or South America with a population of 30,000 or more. For more information or to view their assessment and criteria, visit www.whatworkscities.org.

For more information about the ACCGov's data initiatives or Silver Level re-certification, contact the Geospatial Information Office at 706-613-3872 or visit www.accgov.com/gio.

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