Improving Public Decisionmaking: Local Governments and Data Intermediaries

Report by Kathryn L.S. Pettit, G. Thomas Kingsley
March 9, 2018

Urban Institute   (NNIP Coordinator)

Local governments should engage with data intermediary organizations, such as the members of the National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership, to more effectively identify priority issues, find new allies, and devise data-driven policies and programs. In addition to their topical, analytic, and community engagement expertise, these organizations bring an understanding of local context, a reputation for impartial analysis, and a set of relationships that spans sectors. Their services build local capacity, including within governments, to use data for better decisionmaking. All local governments should join with area data intermediaries to raise the whole community’s ability to regularly share and use data to improve decisionmaking, both inside and outside of government.

In addition to this overview brief, three case studies for Baltimore, Columbus, and Oakland demonstrate the range of ways that data intermediaries and their services benefit city and county governments.