What Works City Feature: Tempe, AZ

Creating a new data-oriented paradigm in the Valley

The Opportunity
Tempe has always been primed for a data revolution. Sitting to the southeast of Phoenix, in a ring of cities within Arizona’s Valley of the Sun, and home to the largest university in the country, Arizona State University, the City has been developing smartly and taking advantage of the wealth of diversity that a flagship state university brings to a city.

In August 2016, the City Council approved a revised strategic framework focused on better using metrics to track five priority areas and restructuring small parts of the city government to best meet those needs. To help supplement this work, Mayor Mark Mitchell and the City Council asked What Works Cities to provide support that would enhance the City’s performance management and make municipal data more consumable and scalable for agencies and residents. They also asked What Works Cities to work with their teams to improve the way the City does contracting by tying it to outcomes.

Our Work Together
What Works Cities experts at the Center for Government Excellence (GovEx) at Johns Hopkins University, the Government Performance Lab at the Harvard Kennedy School, Results for America, and the Sunlight Foundation worked with Tempe’s leadership team to integrate data-driven processes into city culture. This included advancing the City’s ability to deliver results for its residents by solidifying and elevating its open data program, beginning a data-oriented performance management program, and improving the outcomes of its employee wellness program by implementing results-driven contracting strategies into requests for proposals (RFPs) and contracts.

What Works Cities and Tempe worked together to integrate data-driven processes into city culture.

Summary of Key Accomplishments
This work in open data, performance management, and results-driven contracting lays the groundwork for the city to incorporate data and evidence in further aspects of its decision-making. What Works Cities and the City of Tempe worked together to accomplish the following:

1. Launched a new open data program
• Tempe passed an open data resolution in March 2017, and then further ensured its sustainability and commitment to this work through a public administrative regulation.
• To understand and encourage more cross-departmental data use, the City created an inventory and governance plan for all Tempe Fire and Medical Rescue data sets, which all city departments are free to use. The city then began the same process with related and relevant departments, such as Community Services and Public Works.
• Tempe built a new process for prioritizing, approving, and releasing data to the public. This ensures that all departments have a clear role in managing their data while also establishing a process for the protection of private and sensitive data.
• Tempe has begun to integrate its open data and performance management programs by sharing contextual stories around data sets forthcoming on its open data portal and organizing those data based on Tempe’s strategic priorities.
• Tempe made police data more transparent and accessible for residents.

2. Improved the performance of Tempe’s customer service using data
• To better serve City customers, Tempe implemented strategies to help them quickly collect customer-experience data, which will provide faster information on ways to advance key city priorities.
• To track and communicate the performance of the city, Tempe successfully launched its “Tempe Accelerates” performance management program. The program focuses on using data to make decisions that most efficiently move the City forward on its priorities.

3. Piloted results-driven contracting strategies through a new employee wellness program
• To begin to make all Tempe contracts outcomes-focused, Tempe conducted an RFP process that incorporated results-driven contracting strategies for its employee wellness program. Those strategies included a clear articulation of the contract’s strategic goals, development of a request for information (RFI) to better understand the market and collaborate with vendors, defining key outcome metrics, and establishing the potential to incorporate performance-based payments to improve vendor accountability.
• Tempe now has the tools to refine this program design year-over-year. The selected vendor contract requires the collection of data that will provide insight into the program’s impact. This will help Tempe measure program performance and make changes as necessary.

What’s Next
With this work, Tempe has made significant strides toward using data and evidence to deliver improved results for its residents. The City should continue to build on this work by expanding its open data, performance management, and results-driven contracting pilots into other departments and lines of work. This will ensure that the City continues to build on its strong foundation and creates a culture of excellence that drives positive change for the residents of Tempe.