Local Government Fellowship Case Studies


Every day local government leaders are making tough decisions on how to best serve their residents. Increasingly, cities and counties are placing data and evidence at the center of their decision-making to achieve the best outcomes with scarce taxpayer resources.

As part of the “Invest in What Works Policy Series,” Results for America is showcasing some of the best examples of strategies by local governments to use data and evidence to drive budget and policy decisions that help address major concerns in their communities.

These case studies highlight some of the work of RFA’s Local Government Fellows, who are developing research partnerships with academic institutions, sharing best practices and demonstration projects, and participating in a national network that is helping to advance data-driven and evidence-based policymaking.


Local Government
Case Studies



September 26, 2018

Louisville residents living at or below 130% of the federal poverty line rely on the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) to help cover costly home energy bills each year. However, the local LIHEAP application process was inefficient and time consuming, requiring residents to make multiple in-person visits and wait in long lines to complete their applications. The application process was inefficient for Louisville government staff as well, leaving them too little time to serve all eligible clients and award all available local LIHEAP funds.

Montgomery County 

September 26, 2018

Montgomery County, Maryland has experienced a steady increase in 911 calls for emergency medical services (EMS) in recent years. Among the nearly 84,000 calls to 911 for EMS in Montgomery County in 2013, the 100 most frequent callers were responsible for 3% (over 2,500 calls) of the call load. These residents were usually experiencing non-emergency events that often stemmed from behavioral health issues, substance abuse challenges, chronic illnesses, or a combination of these factors. They also often lacked knowledge of the non-emergency resources available to them.

King County

August 23, 2018

King County created the Best Starts for Kids initiative, which, among other things, introduced an entirely new way for the government to structure contracts and do business with human services providers. The County made their contracting process more accessible to community-based organizations that work with underserved residents. New contracting practices also promoted outcomes-focused, preventive, and early intervention services based on rigorous evidence of impact, while simultaneously allowing the County to test and build evidence for innovative and community-based approaches.


January 5, 2018

Former Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed’s Office of Innovation Delivery and Performance reinstituted and reimagined the city’s performance management system in late 2012. The City placed departmental staff at the center of the effort and focused foremost on how data collection and review could help city staff better deliver services and respond to the needs of residents. This unique approach was in stark contrast to traditional performance management systems, which focus on first serving the needs of the Mayor and government agency leaders.


January 5, 2018

The City of Baltimore developed an advanced outcome budgeting system in 2010 to focus resources on the most effective and promising services and programs to meet the City’s priority needs, based on performance data and evidence of impact.

New Orleans

January 5, 2018

The New Orleans Mayor’s Office of Performance and Accountability used advanced analytics, open source software, and a partnership with Louisiana State University (LSU) students to integrate the City’s administrative data with the operational expertise of New Orleans EMS staff to decrease overall EMS response times and provide equitable service to all neighborhoods.


January 5, 2018

In April 2016, the Philadelphia Mayor’s Office jointly created a collaborative team called the Philadelphia Behavioral Science Initiative with academic researchers. First, Philadelphia city staff identify enrollment and usage challenges within city programs and services. Then, the team connects department staff with suitable academic research partners to identify key service touch points and develop behavioral science-based evaluations. Finally, the evaluation findings help determine how to engage city residents in these programs and services more effectively and efficiently.