June 30, 2015Policy Report

New Orleans: Using Data to Drive Innovation and Improve Performance

Local/ 2015/

The city of New Orleans has made great strides in its use of data to drive innovation and improve performance. For years, the city has invested in a performance management system that uses data to review past progress and make decisions to improve results. More recently, city leaders have begun using predictive analytics to inform proactive efforts to improve city services, and have begun using data to shift public resources away from programs and vendors that consistently fail to achieve desired results. This represents an evolution in the way New Orleans uses data to invest in what works.

Data-driven efforts began when Mayor Mitch Landrieu, with city council support, created the Office of Performance and Accountability (OPA) in January 2011. OPA’s mission is to improve city services through data-driven management decision-making and accountability for delivering results. As a result of these efforts, New Orleans has improved outcomes for its citizens, including:

  • reducing blight by more than 40 percent;
  • reducing contract processing times by 40 percent;
  • doubling the productivity in removing abandoned vehicles in 1 year;
  • reducing the proportion of non-functioning streetlights to a third of their 2013 baseline; and
  • averaging 7.8 percent growth in sales tax revenue during the last 3 years.

Performance Management: Setting Goals and Tracking Performance

Throughout the year, the OPA uses performance measures to track progress towards the mayor’s strategic goals, and reports results quarterly to the mayor, senior officials, the city council, and citizens. Key initiatives are further tracked in monthly STAT, or data-driven performance review meetings, organized by tactical initiatives. In order to improve results, OPA and city officials proactively review performance data—inside and outside the STAT forum—to understand what’s working, what’s not, and identify solutions for improvement, which may include making changes to the allocation of funds.