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December 8, 2011

State and Local Governments Continue Progress in Sharing Data, Coordinating Services

In June 2011, CMAP's Policy Updates blog covered efforts by the State of Illinois, Cook County, and the City of Chicago to support efficient governance by improving access to information and coordinating across government bodies, helping to save money and improve service delivery. In the months since, progress has been made by all three units of government to further those efforts.

On June 21, 2011, the State of Illinois open data portal was launched, featuring 48 datasets that focus on the economy, transportation, and the environment. Upon its launch, the portal included data from the Illinois Department of Transportation, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, the Illinois Department of Revenue, and the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. Since then it has expanded, and in November the data portal added more than 4,700 new datasets containing state-specific information from numerous federal agencies, including results of the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey. The site now features nearly 5,000 data sets in its searchable database.

Also detailed in the same Policy Update were efforts by the City and County to pool resources, eliminate redundant services, and improve overall service delivery. The Joint Committee on City-County Collaboration first released a report in June highlighting potential opportunities for coordination. The Committee issued its first quarterly report in September. The City and County estimate that efforts led by the Committee will result in a combined $11 million in savings and revenues for their respective 2012 budgets. That figure is expected to increase by an additional $28 million in 2013. The Committee has set a goal of joint savings in the $66 to 140 million range to be reached by 2014.

Twenty City-County working groups have been formed to tackle a wide range of topics, from anti-violence and community stabilization strategies to open data. The working groups are currently identifying best practices and creating implementation plans, which are set to begin in late 2011 and early 2012. The joint committee's initial report recommended combined the Chicago, Cook County, and Northern Cook County Workforce Boards into one nonprofit board, while also expanding the Chicago Workforce Investment Council. On October 20, the City and County announced they would merge workforce development efforts to create a single Chicagoland Workforce Board.

These important but incremental actions at the state and local levels demonstrate the need for more progress in implementation of GO TO 2040 priorities for increasing data sharing, governmental transparency, and intergovernmental collaboration, as well as for removing artificial barriers across programs at the local, regional, state, and federal levels.