City Hall – The New York City Council today was awarded with two honors in open government and technology. The Center for Digital Government and Government Technology recognized the Council’s CouncilStat team for their work in data processing and online transparency. Announced in Speaker Christine C. Quinn’s State of the City address in 2007, CouncilStat was honored in the Visionary and Project Excellence categories in Albany. A full list of awardees can be found at www.centerdigitalgov.com.
The CouncilStat initiative streamlines the intake process of constituent concerns through the creation of a common web-based database platform. The technology enables the Council to compare and analyze constituent issues within and across districts in order to improve the Council’s response to community needs and assist with developing a legislative agenda and budget priorities that address these issues. Monthly updated CouncilStat data can be viewed at http://council.nyc.gov/html/stat/stat.shtml.
“Through CouncilStat, the City Council has become more responsive to the concerns of New Yorkers,” said Speaker Christine C. Quinn. “We have been able to track, analyze and utilize data collected by district offices throughout the five boroughs to make legislative, budget or policy response. CouncilStat allows us to see if one constituent call is an isolated problem or part of a bigger trend.”
“Addressing individual concerns while tracking patterns across the City is what CouncilStat is all about,” said Council Member Dan Garodnick. “This is a novel and useful program that allows us to better serve our constituents, and to identify and attack the bigger issues.”
“This year’s Best of New York award winners show New York agencies are committed to bringing transparency and openness in government,” said Cathilea Robinett, executive vice president of the Center. “These websites and Web-based tools provide important quality improvements in services as well as cost savings which are vital in today’s tight economy and tight budgets. Congratulations to the winners of this year’s awards!”
Constituent requests and concerns are received via phone, fax, e-mail, in person and now via web form located on the Council’s website. These requests and concerns are entered into the CouncilStat system. Each concern is coded with a specific issue type. Additionally, any address data is geocoded in order to pinpoint location of the concern. Council Members and staff examine the district, borough and citywide data on a monthly basis in order to track and identify trends within and across district lines. Using this information, the Council is able to identify communities with similar problems, develop best practices, and better target city resources. Information about the type and number of concerns is published on the Council’s web site.