An upcoming overhaul of San Diego’s performance data website is expected to improve transparency and accountability for city agencies, Kirby Brady, the city’s new chief innovation officer, told StateScoop.
Under Mayor Todd Gloria, who took office in December, the city is planning to upgrade its public-facing performance data portal, called PerformSD, to become more useable and robust for residents looking to figure out how efficient city services are at solving their problems, like fixing a pothole or picking up waste. Brady, who was named as the city’s first chief innovation officer by Gloria on Jan. 8, said she’ll be in charge of the redesign for the website and for internal agency performance reviews, including creating hundreds of new metrics to track government services.
“We have to be honest with ourselves about ways we can do better, and we can always do better. With this Mayor, something he’s committed to is the transparency around how we’re performing,” Brady said. “We want to help departments internally, develop more meaningful metrics, more meaningful [key performance indicators] so that we’re able to measure and track our progress. You can’t get better until you know where you’re at today. That starts with an honest assessment, a baseline of how things are today.”
Former Mayor Kevin Faulconer launched PerformSD in 2016 as the city’s initial online dashboard to review government services. Currently, it tracks things like the time it takes for police and firefighters to respond, water usage per capita and the miles of streets repaired by the city per year. But no metric has been updated since 2019 and the city has developed new in-person and online services since then, Brady said, especially during the coronavirus pandemic.
“Over the course of the last year, we’ve found we have to do more to be accessible to as many people as possible,” she said.
For each department, Brady said, the city plans to create new metrics that better align with their core goals, which will then be placed on a scorecard for internal use. Along with measuring how long it takes to complete projects, like paving a road, for example, Brady said the city will measure and may publicize the cost and prioritization of each project. Other new measurements might include how efficiently a department is offering customer service or budgeting, she said.
New data will be collected straight from the departments themselves, Brady said, which is only possible because of how many services San Diego offers digitally.
“Once you offer your services digitally, you’re creating these transactional records of work that’s being done,” she said. “So over the course of the year, we can say we had X number of requests for potholes or Y number of missed collections.”