Local governments have a responsibility to be transparent to their constituents. After all, we're all paying for the work local government does through our taxes, and the policies and practices of local government have a huge impact on our lives and our communities. Trust between constituents and their elected officials and government staff is essential for a well-functioning community. Additionally, most jurisdictions operate within some local or state-level transparency requirements, and are mandated to produce public information when requested.
But many governments struggle to provide transparency at the individual or aggregate level. The trend towards "open data portals" that started several years ago is important - but those portals bring their own challenges in providing relevant and up-to-date information. They're hard to keep up and custom or off-the shelf software can be expensive, even for the governments who have enough staff to stand up and maintain them. They don't help much with personal transparency - the ability to find out the status of my permit, application, or request, in real time. That's why we built in automatic, affordable transparency and open data features in CityGrows. Any applicant or staffer can check the status of an individual application at any time. And our "open by default" Data and Stats tab for each workflow provides straighforward data to your community - and also control (at the field-by-field level) for which information is and isn't included in the Data and Stats visualizations and charts. With CityGrows, all governments big or small can provide great open data and transparency to their communities.
CityGrows’ open data features have helped us connect and inform our community. The Data and Stats page for our Block Party Permits helps keep neighbors, commissioners, and everyone in the loop!