Mayor Parker today announced the launch of a new website to advance her vision for a more transparent and efficient government. The Performance Improvement Portal, located at Performance.Houstontx.Gov, is the hub for all of the City’s performance and open data resources. From this website, the public can access the City’s new quarterly performance management report — Performance Insight — and stay current on a series of projects designed to improve City operations and services. Through the Performance Insight report and the Performance Improvement Portal, citizens are now able to see how the City measures its own performance, participate in civic innovation projects and join in an ongoing conversation about government improvement.
The tools found in the Performance Improvement Portal are part of the Mayor’s strategic vision to create a lasting and impactful performance management system in the City. Beginning this quarter, the Mayor’s Office will be meeting regularly with department directors to review metrics and aggressively target areas that need improvement through Performance Improvement Engagements (PIEs). Each department is assigning Performance Improvement Agents equipped with the City’s internal Lean Six Sigma training to drive process improvements within their organizations and lead PIEs. The City is also improving the way it tracks and reports performance through the implementation of an Enterprise Performance Management System, SAP Strategy Management.
The launch of the Performance Improvement Portal coincides with the second edition of the City’s quarterly Performance Insight report developed to increase transparency and provide City leaders with data-driven “Insight” into the outcomes of City policies and budgetary decisions. The Finance Department’s Performance Improvement Division works with City departments and the Mayor’s Office to create this report as part of an on-going effort to provide City leaders with better tools for managing and evaluating the City’s performance. The City’s Finance Director Kelly Dowe explains “Performance Insight is about continuous improvement from every level of the organization. This report will help us make better decisions, improve productivity and increase transparency in the City.” Dowe states: “Through the hard work of our dedicated staff, the City is continuing to meet the needs of our ever-growing population and remain a leader in innovation and performance. This report is just another step in our journey towards instituting world-class management in our world-class City.”
Open Data and Civic Innovation
All across the country, cities are figuring out innovative ways to do more with less. The City of Houston is no exception. There are currently over 200 datasets available through the online portal, and the City is finalizing an Administrative Procedure that will lay the groundwork to make all non-exempt data publically accessible in the future. Every time the City receives a request, performs a service, or responds to a citizen, data is collected. By opening up this data to the public, the Mayor hopes to create an environment where anyone can build a useful application for the community and help improve our City.
The City has engaged the technology and startup community in Houston to host several hackathons, friendly competitions where tech-savvy volunteers develop applications using open data. “Some of the smartest people in the world call Houston home, and I hope that open data will encourage civic involvement and increase the pace of innovation in the City,” Mayor Parker said. “There is a talented technology community in Houston that is really engaged and eager to use the City’s data to help the make the City they live in better. We’ve already seen some impressive applications developed by volunteers through hackathons and other civic innovation programs.”
Parker states: “Together with the community, we are finding new ways to modernize government and improve the City’s operations. As we continue to improve, I encourage all citizens to get engaged and participate in moving our great City forward.”