Transparency: How Municipalities Are Building TrustPosted on Jun 28, 2017, 8:04:00 AM
Considering the world, we live in today in terms of social media and information at your fingertips, it is a pretty simple path to find out just about anything on an individual or organization. People have come to expect the ability to gather information they need to make a decision or learn more about an initiative. This has also become true in the public sector.
Local governments are focused on accounting for every dollar in shrinking budgets while still delivering the expected high level of service to their constituents. A significant part of the strategy needs to be focused on transparency and telling your story. Now more than ever, public entities need to be proactive in building trust. Transparency in the public sector allows stakeholders to evaluate elected officials’ decisions, gain a better understanding of why certain decisions are made and provide a more detailed look at key performance indicators.
Many municipalities across the nation are beginning to embrace transparency and build a specific strategy that creates advocates and a two-way communication street. Often the public perspective is that their city, town or village lacks transparency, leading to reluctance to support budgets, specific initiatives or proposals. Finance Directors and other local government leaders are now teaming up with software companies to easily promote accountability while providing facts and related narratives that further their relationship with the public.
For many, it is a way to ensure that stakeholders view their municipality as focused and organized, that leadership can execute the given strategy, and that they are fiscally responsible. Finance Directors often use a multi-layered approach to communicate their message both in numbers and by using powerful visuals.
As we see finance teams across the country implementing their transparency strategies, many are building question-based narratives and telling their story with visuals. This ensures understanding for the great majority of taxpayers and other stakeholders. For those that want a more in-depth view, Finance Directors are publishing on their website the key budget reports and queries right from their general ledger data.
Nearly everywhere else in the world, information is available at our fingertips so having this information available for the given community provides a sense of comfort and confidence in the decisions being made at the local government level.
What is your transparency and communication strategy? Is it leading your stakeholders down a path that ultimately provides decision support and understanding of both the near-term and long-range plans for the community?
With the data and software tools now available you can have an advantage when delivering value and setting up the long term success of the city.
Jason Rader is Vice President of Sales at Forecast5 Analytics, Inc. – a technology company focused on software development and data analytics for the public sector. Jason has spent the past 15 years establishing long-term strategic relationships as well as helping companies expand revenue and company growth year in and year out. His diverse marketing and sales experiences have allowed him to offer companies growth from digital presence down to the bottom line.