Procurement. Budgeting & forecasting. Workflow automation. Performance reporting. Budget books. Community engagement.

Local government leaders live in a world full of complicated terminology. To help you get a handle on all the terms, we’ve compiled a comprehensive glossary with definitions and helpful links. You might want to bookmark this page for future reference!

Local government accounting software is used by public institutions and agencies within states, counties, municipalities, and special districts to record and report how funds are used and managed. Also known as fund accounting software, local government accounting software creates financial statements and balance sheets for each department, integrating budgeting, receipting, payroll management, and billing, among other applications…

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Government budget software is designed to meet the unique needs of local government and the public sector, specifically with forecasting and multi-fund accounting. Governments can’t lean on typical business budgeting and forecasting software because it fails to handle the intricacies and granularities of government financial planning, which includes the process of breaking down budget revenues, expenses, and actuals by department…

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Local, municipal, and state governments must be able to track performance on an ongoing basis for initiatives and the money that drives them. Government performance management software is a tool that creates reports and tracks analytics on financial and non-financial metrics in order to improve government performance and efficiency… 

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Serving the public sector, public administration leaders work behind-the-scenes to evaluate the performance of officials and departments, implement policy, leverage resources, and serve citizens as successfully as possible.

While best practices in public administration have advanced over the years, the technologies needed to implement them more efficiently with less manual labor have evolved only gradually, hindering the efforts of what our team at OpenGov calls Smart Government, i.e., governments that integrate modern technology into day-to-day operations…

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Online civic engagement refers to the act of stakeholders—such as individuals, businesses, and organizations—identifying and addressing issues of public concern using digital tools accessible by state, local, or municipal government entities (and adopted by them for this very purpose) …

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Government Budgeting Terms

When government leaders call on department heads to report their budgets individually, it’s typically a time-consuming task reported via Excel—and the methodology and accuracy can vary greatly. OpenGov enables leaders to gain comprehensive insight into every department in a visual, efficient, and accessible way. 

Governments are tasked with managing taxpayer dollars responsibly and effectively, and constituents more and more want to be informed about this process. OpenGov provides easy ways for governments to share accurate information in digestible ways so citizens can gain awareness and public trust. By deploying multi-approval workflows for project pre-screening, and transparency tools for project organization and communication, OpenGov goes above and beyond any competing capital planning tool of our competitors.

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OpenGov provides end-to-end Strategic Planning tools that acts as a system of record for your Strategic Plan and helps oversee the success of your program from plan creation, budgeting to the plan, performance management, and community engagement.

Key Performance Indicator.

Cost of living adjustment

Centralize, track, and manage data from across departments and databases in one location to achieve on your performance goals. Transparency and engagement tools align all internal and community stakeholders to adapt to change, build resilient communities, and drive improved community outcomes.

When government leaders call on department heads to report their budgets individually, it’s typically a time-consuming task reported via Excel—and the methodology and accuracy can vary greatly. OpenGov enables leaders to gain comprehensive insight into every department in a visual, efficient, and accessible way. 

A process emphasizing management’s responsibility to plan, budget, and evaluate. Zero-base budgeting provides for analysis of alternative methods of operation and various levels of effort. It places new programs on an equal footing with existing programs by requiring that program priorities be ranked, thereby providing a systematic basis for allocating resources.

Government Permitting & Licensing Terms

Planning and zoning (department)

Director of public works

Right of way (permits). Also known as: encroachment permits

Freedom of Information Act

Permitting, Licensing, Code Enforcement

One of the most important local government functions is determining how the layout of communities will change, develop and adapt to meet residents’ current and future needs. Communities guide their physical growth and development through local planning and zoning (P&Z).

P&Z staff is responsible for drafting the community’s General Plan, which outlines a 10-20 year vision and offers recommendations for changes in ordinances if they have any. All of the projects outlined take several factors into consideration, including the rate of population growth, the character of development, transportation and housing needs, economic vitality, sustainability, and environmental protection.

Government Procurement Terms

RFP: Request for Proposal. Sometimes, X is used as a variable to represent different types of vendor questionnaires, such as proposal, quotation, information, and so on.

Bid:  proposed cost (bid) for fulfilling the conditions outlined in a request for proposal or other information gathering or supplier contact activity.

Related: Invitation For Bid (ITB – Often used alongside RFP)

An IFB is the method used for the sealed bid process. A typical IFB includes a description of the product or service to be acquired, instructions for preparing a bid, the conditions for purchase, packaging, delivery, shipping and payment, contract clauses to be included and the deadline for submitting bids

OpenGov Procurement’s industry-leading solution turbo-charges eRFx assembly using automation, collaborative guided workflows, and intelligent boilerplates and provides access to a public shared scope-of-work library so buyers don’t have to “reinvent the wheel.” This proprietary technology leverages inline comments, project tracking reports, and automatic alerts, helping teams build solicitations in record time.

OpenGov Procurement’s Supplier Engagement+Evaluations & Awards solution improves transparency and communication, while reducing internal finger-pointing and clerical work; It fosters paperless, guided workflows, intelligent reporting, group scoring, direct communication channels, intuitive e-bidding and group scoring automation for a more reliable, strategic process. 

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OpenGov Procurement’s Contract Management solution automates the management of contracts so users can stay ahead of critical insurance and contract deadlines, paperlessly. It centralizes key documents so contracts can easily be found at a single, accessible source, while providing transparency to both internal customers and citizens.

Certificate of Insurance

Government Reporting & Transparency Terms

OpenGov Stories is the most flexible tool available to governments to make it easy to communicate out important information and drive alignment on important initiatives. Governments need easy to use and flexible transparency tools to communicate the narratives and data to build trust, generate community buy-in, and share foundational financial and operational information. Integrated OpenGov reports means that the data is always up-to-date and the ability to embed multi-media and iframes gives governments infinite possibilities in what and how they share information.

Now more than ever, governments are more committed to providing answers to constituents on policy decisions than ever before. OpenGov allows for multiple datasets to be made usable and accessible to the public through a variety of source APIs, which is a best practice of open governments. Open Data also can act as an internal data hub for consolidating massive datasets for use in performance metric tracking.

Put the voice of the community in every key decision with OpenGov’s engagement platform. Launch surveys, collect feedback from physical kiosks, or run virtual meetings taking advantage of the 17 question formats you can ask to drive a 6x increase in public engagement. Key highlights include annotated maps for Capital Planning, Budget simulations for participatory budgeting, and robust data analysis to examine the nuances of geographic and demographic spread in your survey results.

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