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Mayor Harrell Celebrates National Recognition for Seattle’s Data-Driven Decision Making

What Works Cities, a Bloomberg Philanthropies initiative, awards certifications to cities across the Americas that best implement data and evidence-based practices and policies.

Seattle – Today, Mayor Bruce Harrell celebrated national recognition for Seattle’s exceptional use of data in its government and policy after the City received a prestigious award from What Works Cities and Bloomberg Philanthropies. Seattle achieved Gold Certification after demonstrating a dedication to making data-informed decisions that generate better outcomes for residents.  

“Thoughtful use of data is central to our work,” said Mayor Bruce Harrell. “Exemplified in everything from our homelessness response to tracking the outcomes of American Rescue Plan Spending and our upcoming Downtown Activation Plan, we strive to create a culture of effective data-based decision-making. We are exceptionally grateful that Bloomberg Philanthropies and What Works Cities for recognizing and uplifting our effective use of data and commitment to being a learning organization. This honor is thanks to the hard work of our City employees and their ongoing effort to be one of the most well-managed, data-driven local governments in the nation.”  

The What Works Cities Certification program, launched in 2017 by Bloomberg Philanthropies  and led by Results for America, is the first-of-its-kind standard of excellence for data and evidence-based local government. What Works Cities Certification recognizes and celebrates local governments for their exceptional use of data to inform policy decisions, allocate funding, improve services, evaluate the effectiveness of programs, and engage residents. The Gold Certification status signifies cities who are “great at understanding data, tracking progress, and using data and evidence to make decisions.”  

“The Bloomberg Philanthropies What Works Cities Certification continues to raise the bar for policymakers committed to leveraging data to understand community needs and deliver on resident priorities,” said James Anderson, who leads the Government Innovation program at Bloomberg Philanthropies. “We’re proud to welcome these newly Certified cities into this fast-growing international community and see the use — and impact — of the What Works Cities’ standard of excellence expand and improve lives.” 

Data has been central to Mayor Harrell’s approach to governance since his time as a Councilmember, where he was a major advocate for technology and data-driven policymaking that aimed to make policy more efficient, effective, and equitable. Legislation and initiatives included “banning the box,” bias-free policing law, low-cost internet for students, the “13th Year Promise” for college tuition, and the privacy initiative providing greater data transparency to the public. Data is a core element to the mayor’s approach to policy making.  

Mayor Harrell’s collaborative One Seattle approach to data has also resulted in the City’s inclusion in the City Data Alliance, a Bloomberg Philanthropies program, which helps local governments improve and expand their data use. The Data Alliance offers expertise and partnership to support Seattle’s efforts to develop a robust data strategy aligned with Mayor Harrell’s vision, with deliverables such as formalizing a demographic data standard, developing an evaluation policy, and forming a plan for workforce development. Seattle already follows many data best practices, and the City Data Alliance will institutionalize and expand this good work by building shared best practices and guidelines across departments to better serve residents.