I recently unveiled a balanced $5.1 billion proposed total city budget for the coming fiscal year. This wasn’t easy to do with revenue limitations, growing pension and debt obligations, and an ever-increasing demand for City services. We were able to submit this balanced budget in large part due to a tremendous effort to become a leaner and more efficient government. The City has honed its focus on performance improvement and data-driven management.
BARC (Animal Shelter and Adoptions) service requests are now integrated into the 311 Performance Dashboards! You can analyze BARC service requests to your heart’s content and compare calls such as stray animal pickup and animal control violations alongside other 311 service requests. Check out some of the different views by browsing the thumbnails below.
Back in April, we blogged on our efforts to pull BARC service requests and integrate the data into the 311 Performance Dashboards and, eventually, host the underlying data on the City's Interim Open Data Portal. BARC service requests have not been historically included in the 311 Performance Dashboards because they are logged into a different work management system than all other 311 service requests.
The first step towards integrating BARC and 311 data came in July when BARC service requests were included in the FY14-Q4 Performance Insight report. Integration was solidified with the release of the FY15-Q1 Performance Insight report. At the beginning of the month, we completed the integration of the BARC data into the 311 Dashboards. As we continue forward with implementation of the City's Open Data Policy, we'll continue to work towards eventually making BARC service requests available as an open data set.
Click on the thumbnails below to open the 311 Performance Dashboards pre-filtered to BARC views
Frank C. Bracco is a Senior Staff Analyst for the City of Houston Finance Department and is a member of the Performance Improvement Division. Frank holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Economics from the University of Florida and a Master of Public Administration from the University of Georgia.
When I became Mayor, I saw an opportunity to further encourage and develop the talents of our dedicated employees by providing Lean Six Sigma training, a systematic problem solving technique intended to reduce waste, improve processes and enhance quality of operations. While we weren’t the first City to adopt Lean Six Sigma methods, we’ve built one of the largest and most intensive public quality regimens in the world!
In the 2014-Q3 Performance Insight Report, EMS Collections were highlighted. With the close of the 3rd quarter, Performance Insight reported that EMS collections were on track to meet or exceed budget. With the close of the 4th quarter, the Finance Department is pleased to provided unaudited numbers that show EMS Collections exceeded budgeted estimated by 7%, resulting in an additional $2.26 million in EMS Collections revenues.
As we conclude the first year of producing these Performance Insight reports, I’d like to provide an update on the ongoing work to improve our performance. Over the past year we focused on developing meaningful internal and external-facing performance measures, and creating a culture of accountability through data-driven management. We improved data quality and processes to support validation. We developed a follow-up process to encourage action when performance does not meet expectations.
The goal of Performance Insight is to go beyond simply reporting performance and begin to use the report as a tool to manage and improve performance on an on-going basis. As an executive scorecard, my staff and I use this report to lead constructive, data-driven discussions with department directors on the performance of the City’s core functions.