Case Study

How the Illinois State Treasurer Created Unprecedented Transparency

About The Illinois State Treasurer

The Illinois State Treasurer is the state’s Chief Investment Officer, elected by the people of Illinois. Michael W. Frerichs, the current State Treasurer, is also a Certified Public Finance Officer. The Treasurer’s Office operates on a $59 million annual budget and serves a population of nearly 13 million. The office invests money on behalf of the state and local units of government, and actively manages approximately $30 billion. The portfolio includes approximately $13 billion in state funds, $11 billion in college savings plans, and $6 billion on behalf of local and state governments. In fiscal year 2018, the Treasurer’s Office processed $170 billion in receipts and $170 billion in expenditures on behalf of the State of Illinois. Additionally, the Treasurer believes in providing individuals with the tools so that they can invest in themselves. He does this by encouraging savings plans for college or trade school, increasing financial education among all ages, removing barriers to a secure retirement, and protecting residents from predatory companies.

Challenge

Since Michael W. Frerichs became the Illinois State Treasurer, he has focused on transparency and efficiency in government for the benefit of the people of the State of Illinois. He continuously seeks solutions aimed at increasing civic engagement and transparency in government to levels that are unprecedented for the Illinois State Treasurer’s Office. The prior system for providing information to the public involved static data and was not as interactive or user-friendly. Additionally, data on many programs had not been disclosed to the public, unless requested by individuals through the Freedom of Information Act.

Solution

The Treasurer’s Office chose OpenGov, through the RFP process, to deploy a user-friendly, cloud-based software platform that would provide consistent data updates, thereby allowing the Office to deliver on key promises and objectives.

Population 13 Million
Agency Type State
Annual Budget $59 Million
Region Midwest

Customer Results

  • Generated Easy-to-Interpret, Interactive Data

  • Reduced Time Spent Preparing State Investments Reports by 95%

  • Reduced Time Spent on Data Preparation by 80% for Key Divisions Within the Treasurer’s Office

  • Increased Engagement and Trust with Citizens by Sharing Key Performance Data and Relevant Context

What challenges led you to OpenGov?

Transparency is a principal priority of the Treasurer’s Office. The mission of the office is to promote education, access, and opportunity for individuals and governmental bodies across the state to give families the tools to achieve the American Dream. Treasurer Frerichs is committed to fulfilling this mission in a highly professional and ethical manner, while striving for transparency, efficiency, and preservation of public trust. Therefore, we want to be as transparent as possible in how we invest our money, how we bank the state’s money, and the performance of our programs.

Transparency is a key component for effective governing and ensures there’s trust in the government because we are accountable to the people.

Before using OpenGov, the majority of the information online was static, non-interactive, and not user-friendly. We wanted to provide constantly updated data in a user-friendly manner and provide information on programs for which this Office previously did not inform the public.

“OpenGov is a key partner we utilize to execute and achieve our transparency goals, our civic engagement goals, and to achieve internal efficiencies in terms of data preparation and reporting objectives. They are definitely an important partner in achieving those high-level strategic objectives.”
Max Dulberger, Director, Corporate Engagement & Investment Operations, Illinois State Treasurer

Why did you choose OpenGov?

Seeing the real examples of how OpenGov is facilitating transparency and civic engagement in other governments really helped us envision what we could do with it. The fact that other governments are successfully using it, gave them credibility. We also found the cost and price manageable, and the level of responsiveness and detail received in the RFP was notable. OpenGov gave us confidence that they could execute the level of responsibility and transparency we needed.

We also found that OpenGov as a software solution is up-to-date, easy to utilize, and enables us to tell more of a story about what we do in the Treasurer’s Office to serve the people of Illinois.

You branded your OpenGov solution for the public as The Vault. Tell us about your specific goals for The Vault.

Our goals are transparency, public trust, and more citizen engagement. We wanted to transfer any static graphs and tables into this interactive, online, user-friendly format. We also wanted to take the current data and convert it into this new, more innovative format. That was a key deliverable.

Putting new info online was a key objective, too. Internally, we wanted to improve productivity – with data storage, sharing, analyzing, reporting it out – these things used to be clunky and time consuming. It has saved our staff time and thus, saved us money.

What results have you seen so far?

One of our staff reported that they went from spending 3 hours and 45 minutes per month on data preparation to just 45 minutes per month—that's an 80% reduction in time! We have also reduced the time spent preparing State Investments reports by 95% (from 3 hours per month to 10 minutes per month). In addition, we've received positive press coverage praising us for taking this step and creating greater transparency.

It's been an exciting, positive project. We're looking to derive as much value as we can out of it and make sure folks know how to use it.

Do you view OpenGov as a strategic partner?

Yes, indeed. OpenGov is a key partner that we utilize to execute and achieve our transparency goals, our civic engagement goals, and to achieve internal efficiencies in terms of data preparation and reporting objectives. They are definitely an important partner in achieving those strategic objectives. We’re looking forward to achieving even greater success together on our continued quest to build public trust.


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