ClearGov Helps Municipalities Achieve Best Practices Goals
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker’s first executive order launched the Community Compact Initiative (CCI), which encourages towns and cities to voluntarily enter into formal agreements with the administration to work towards best practice goals. When a community signs up it has to agree to implement at least one “best practice” which is selected from a variety of subject areas. Municipalities earn points along the way which can translate into support and funding opportunities.
Lt. Governor Karyn Polito has met with cities and towns throughout the Commonwealth to adopt best practices in the categories of Education, Energy and Environment, Financial Management, Housing and Economic Development, Information Technology, Regionalization/Shared Services, Transportation and Citizen Safety. A primary focus of these best practices is information – not just to collect it or have it, but to make it readily available and accessible, to engage citizens – to achieve a higher level of transparency. What exactly is transparency and how is it achieved?
If information is available but difficult to sort through, navigate and access, that’s not transparency. If information is presented in technical terms filled with unfamiliar acronyms and jargon that’s not transparency. When information is provided out of context without explanation of twists, turns, spikes and declines, that’s not transparency.
Putting mounds of data out there just to say it’s there is not transparency and it can be counterproductive. It can confuse and frustrate the user while generating more questions, fueling doubt and eroding trust. Genuine transparency requires clarity. It comes from the facilitation of understanding. Transparency means anticipating the users’ expectations and proactively meeting them. The data has to be easy to navigate, presented in laymen’s terms, in context of the larger story and accompanied by educational information which anticipates and addresses potential questions, and as a best practice, welcomes citizen engagement.
There’s a big difference between superficial transparency and genuine transparency. Genuine transparency requires user friendly, consumable data presented with clarity, in context and with opportunities for engagement. That’s what ClearGov’s unique transparency platform is all about.
When Framingham became the 143rd community to sign a compact agreement, CFO Mary Ellen Kelly said “We can get to real transparency quickly using ClearGov, and it also translates into points we can earn in the Compact Initiative. It’s not just the transparency, she said, it’s in such a compelling, user friendly format which will make the information so clear for our residents.” ClearGov helps everyone have a more informed and empirically accurate conversation.
ClearGov.com is the only platform which has transformed complex and confusing financial statements and key metrics for all Massachusetts communities into easy-to-understand, interactive infographics.
Municipal officials can use the “Claim My Page” feature to provide local customization to the page, respond to public inquires and request a full demo. When municipalities subscribe the data is expanded, updated, and the pages are embedded or linked to the municipalities’ websites. Powerful benchmarking tools are also provided to municipal officials for their exclusive use.
ClearGov’s powerful transparency and benchmarking data platform is helping communities achieve their best practice goals, earn points as part of their Community Compact agreements and become more efficient, productive service providers. The cumulative effect will be seen throughout the Commonwealth.
For more information go to www.ClearGov.com and claim your page!