Despite its eighteenth century garb and historical characteristic, the City of Williamsburg, has not fallen behind in the modern technological age. The city just received a 2010 Governor’s Award for Innovation and Efficiency to prove it.
Williamsburg received the honor Sept. 7 in recognition of its Performance Management System, a data collection mechanism. The city won in the Innovative Technology category as an Efficiency Driver. Williamsburg was the smallest district in the state to receive an award, placing among larger areas such as Fairfax County, Virginia Beach and Richmond.
The data system has been active since 2008, aiming to do more with less.
“[The city has] an effective, comprehensive performance management system for better outcomes for Williamsburg citizens, with no additional city staff and at a time of declining resources,” the award committee said.
Effectively interfacing several city databases, the system facilitates a city-wide data collection.
“[It] gives council, staff and residents tools to understand city functions and gives a fuller picture of how the city operates,” city spokesman Kate Hoving said.
The newest feature of the system produces visual displays of data to allow for tthe recognition of long-term trends. This system allows for increased communication between various city departments and employees.
“City employees create dashboards related to their specific work tasks and budgets, and they have access to other dashboards, giving them insights into other departments and their functions as well as how their own work relates to the larger organization,” the award evaluation said.
The next step in the process is to make this newly streamlined information more directly available to the public.
While the monthly reports of this information are already in use in both Williamsburg City Council conversations and public debate, the eventual goal is to reform the dashboards for public use and make them available through the city website as well.
Hoving said that she hopes the information will also be helpful to students at the College of William and Mary.
“The information the system provides will help them be informed and engaged citizens while they live here and wherever they may go after graduation,” she said.