What Works Cities Certification

WHAT WORKS CITIES CERTIFICATION IS THE NATIONAL STANDARD OF EXCELLENCE FOR WELL-MANAGED, DATA-DRIVEN LOCAL GOVERNMENT.

Certification helps cities benchmark their progress and develop a roadmap for using data and evidence to deliver results for residents. By recognizing local governments excelling in this work, the program provides models others can learn from. Completing a What Works Cities Assessment is the entry point to What Works Cities and accessing the range of support our partners offer. The program is open to any U.S. city with a population of 30,000 or more.

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CERTIFIED CITIES

Learn about the cities that have achieved Certification.

Two cities also achieved Certification Honor Roll. They are up-and-coming leaders in data-driven governance and are on the path to Certification.

HOW CERTIFICATION WORKS

Certification sets a standard of excellence through criteria that outline the people, processes, and policies that are foundational to a well-managed city. View the Certification criteria here. (A PDF version can be found here.)

A team from Results for America, along with experts on the Certification Standard Committee, conducts an assessment in which local governments earn a point for each criterion they satisfy. If the total number of points earned is high enough, a local government can achieve one of three tiers of Certification: silver, gold, or platinum. All local governments that undergo the assessment better understand their strengths and weaknesses and receive support to drive stronger outcomes for their community. Learn more about the assessment methodology here.

Local governments are GOOD at understanding data, tracking progress, and using data and evidence to make decisions. Cities that achieve between 51% and 66% of the Certification criteria are recognized at the silver level.

Local governments are GREAT at understanding data, tracking progress, and using data and evidence to make decisions. Cities that achieve between 67% and 83% of the Certification criteria are recognized at the gold level.

Local governments SET THE PRECEDENT in understanding data, tracking progress, and using data and evidence to make decisions. Cities that achieve 84% or more of the Certification criteria are recognized at the platinum level.

WHY CERTIFICATION?

Certified cities are better equipped to deliver the most effective services and programs that improve quality of life for residents. They’re using data-driven governance to increase resident satisfaction, engage communities in improving their neighborhoods, reduce carbon emissions, revitalize aging infrastructure, protect renters’ rights, move more people experiencing homelessness into permanent housing, and much more.

Cities that complete a What Works Cities Assessment have their practices benchmarked against Certification’s national standard, receive next steps to improve, and become eligible for a wide range of support from What Works Cities, from access to the initiative’s learning network to the receipt of targeted technical assistance from What Works Cities partners. Learn more below.

GET STARTED

Accelerate on your city's path to excellence by completing a What Works Cities Assessment. This will help you better understand the strengths and weaknesses of your local government’s management, see how your practices stack up against those of your peers, determine how you can improve, and start getting support to drive outcomes for your community. Assessments are accepted on a rolling basis. Please contact certification@whatworkscities.org with any questions.