Mayor Murray signs executive order expanding use of performance data


Mayor Ed Murray has signed an executive order directing City of Seattle departments to expand their use of data and analytics in everyday management and strategic decision making. The announcement is part of Mayor Murray’s ongoing effort to make Seattle’s government more efficient and data-driven to better serve the residents of Seattle. This week, Mayor Murray participated in Bloomberg Philanthropies What Works Cities 2017 Summit, which brought together leading city policymakers from across the country to discuss, share, and explore best practices that increase the performance and effectiveness of local governments. Seattle was recognized at the summit for its recent work to reshape human services contracts to better focus on performance.


“Seattle has a national reputation for excellence in governing and today’s announcement builds on this foundation by bringing innovation and transparency to more City agencies,” said Mayor Murray. “We are a City that uses data, best practices and common sense to meet both basic needs and complex challenges head-on. We are expanding these performance measures to more City departments than ever before. Ultimately, good governance increases the return on our investments, maximizes the effectiveness of our contracts, and helps us better serve more residents.”


In 2016, Mayor Murray created the Performance Seattle team to increase accountability in carrying out day-to-day City business and to give City departments the tools and information to become more efficient, effective and accountable. Today’s announcement directs the Performance Seattle team to work worth City department leadership to ensure performance and accountability measures are integrated into new policies, funding measures and priority issues facing the City by:


  • Creating an inventory of department performance measures;
  • Conducting an analysis of where data is needed but not currently available;
  • Building business intelligence dashboards to make data available to City officials; and
  • Establishing a long-term plan for ongoing data management and analysis


These actions are intended to apply results-driven methodologies to City programs to better analyze and measure good governance, transparency and effectiveness. These measures are currently being applied to the City’s efforts to re-bid all homeless service contracts to ensure providers meet performance goals and that contracted services have a proven, data-driven record of placing people experiencing homelessness into permanent housing. The team has been working to consolidate contracts with service providers, restructure contracts to prioritize placement into permanent housing, and improve the use of data to pinpoint, and fund, what works. This effort was highlighted in a short film debuted at the What Works Cities 2017 Summit in New York City this week.


Seattle was selected as one of the first eight cities to participate in Bloomberg Philanthropies’ What Works Cities, a national initiative started in 2015. The goal of the program is to help American cities enhance their use of data to improve services, inform decision making, and engage residents, ultimately helping leaders identify and invest in what works.


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