Baltimore City announced the use of ARPA funds to help drive new investments Digital Services and Data-Driven Agency Performance.
Yesterday Mayor Brandon Scott announced $3.2 million of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) allocated from the Mayor’s Office of Recovery Programs (MORP) towards modernizing City government and improving City service performance and equity. Two new programs in the Mayor’s Office – Baltimore Digital and the City Performance Team – will bring innovative approaches and best practices to using data, design, and technology to support the Mayor’s Responsible Stewardship of City Resources Action Plan pillar.
“I am truly excited about this investment, which I know will be essential in bringing innovative services and support to city residents,” said Mayor Brandon M. Scott. “Since taking office, one of my main goals has been to ensure our City government is operating in the most up-to-date fashion and at optimal efficiency. This investment will help enhance our performance and, ultimately, allow us to move ever closer towards the state-of-the-art government that our residents deserve.”
The City will invest $2.1 million to create Baltimore Digital, a small team of technology experts tasked with building more accessible and equitable digital tools for residents to access City services. Digital service teams are being created throughout the U.S. at all levels of government and are demonstrating that online access to services and tools can be simpler, cheaper, and more quickly deployed than traditional IT projects. These teams employ user experience design techniques to ensure the needs of users are met and that tools are easy to use and accessible, as well as product management methods that result in quicker delivery of services to end users. The team will be under the direction of the City’s Chief Data Officer, Justin Elszasz.
An additional $1.1 million will establish a City Performance Team in the Mayor’s Office of Performance & Innovation (OPI), which will build a more holistic and comprehensive approach to performance management for the City of Baltimore. A key part of this effort will be to streamline measures collected for existing processes such as the budget book, CitiStat, and the Mayor’s Action Plan. This will also allow the City to strengthen agency performance, ensuring that these metrics are meaningful and accurate ways to track the effectiveness of City service delivery.
As part of this process, each City agency will commit to metrics and targets for key services, codified in annual performance plans at the start of each budget year. Agencies will report on their performance on these metrics and targets at least twice per year. The public will be able to follow this process through the agency performance plans and the subsequent agency reports.