Birmingham Mayor Signs New Open Data Policy via Executive Order

Birmingham, Alabama Partners With OpenGov to Launch a New Online Platform To Increase Transparency and Accountability, Help the Public and City Officials Access Valuable Government Data

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. & REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – Today, Birmingham, Alabama Mayor William A. Bell signed an executive order to improve the way citizens interact with their government. The City is the first in the state to enact a new law that will create an online open data portal to increase transparency and accountability in Birmingham by making key information easily accessible and usable to both city officials and citizens. The City has partnered with OpenGov, the world’s first integrated cloud solution for public sector budgeting, reporting, and open data to build the portal, which will be powered by OpenGov Open Data.

“We challenged our staff to find new, more efficient ways to deliver information directly to the citizen, make information easily accessible and allow further transparency. This portal will allow us to meet those goals,” said Mayor William Bell.

But the budgeting process, which takes the average local government 4-6 months, is mired with potential administrative pitfalls. Soliciting and incorporating feedback from departments requires decentralizing budget information, but it is also the finance team’s responsibility to keep the bottom line in check. The finance team needs to inform line departments about how their respective budgets change at each stage of the review process, while also responding to regular questions from administrators, council and the public.

The new platform will improve both internal and public access to key information, such as public safety, and financial data. Access to this rich, meaningful information empowers internal stakeholders to undertake better analysis, spurs innovation among private sector and nonprofit technology developers, and facilitates civic engagement. The new open data platform will launch a beta platform later this summer.

“We are looking forward to working with OpenGov in launching the Birmingham open data portal by providing a meaningful way to share data and enable data transparency while encouraging civic engagement,” said Sri Karra, CIO/Director of IMS.

Alabama’s largest city with a population of more than 200,000, joins a growing number of leading government agencies nationwide that rely on OpenGov’s next generation open data platform. In the past month, the City of Boston launched its beta platform “Analyze Boston,” and both the California National Resource Association and the City of Phoenix announced plans for their own open data portals. OpenGov Open Data is designed to deliver greater collaboration, transparency, and innovation to governance, and it works for governments and agencies of all types and sizes.

“As a leading comprehensive research university, access to reliable data and resources that enable understanding and discovery is vital to improving lives,” said UAB President Ray L. Watts. “The open data portal will be an important resource for our investigators as they conduct analyses that help us determine how the built environment, traffic and transportation, neighborhood features, retail, services, and social context impact the health of residents.”

“With this new, easy-to-use open data platform, Birmingham residents will be able to engage with their city like never before,” said OpenGov CEO Zac Bookman. “The OpenGov Smart Government Cloud™ will empower residents and elected officials alike to analyze trends, make informed decisions, and build trust.”

The new platform will allow anyone to search Birmingham’s open datasets and interact with that data through preview, filter, and visualization tools. Developers will be able to access and integrate datasets using robust APIs, and the platform allows city officials and the general public to create charts and graphs online and embed the visualizations on other websites.

“Birmingham’s new open data policy and the launch of its open data portal are significant steps in fostering transparency, building trust with residents, and increasing community engagement,” said Simone Brody, Executive Director of What Works Cities. “With access to municipal data, residents can better understand their city’s resources and how leaders make decisions. Residents can also collaborate with the City on developing solutions that can improve the quality of life for the community.”

OpenGov Open Data is a hosted CKAN solution. CKAN is the open source standard that the U.S. federal government, the European Union, and hundreds of other agencies around the world use for open data. OpenGov Open Data allows governments to create portals for citizen engagement and connect budget and performance data with census data, FBI crime data, and financial data from over 3,000 counties and 36,000 cities.

About OpenGov

OpenGov is the leader in government performance solutions: easy-to-use cloud software for better budgeting, improved reporting and operational intelligence, and comprehensive transparency and open data. OpenGov solutions give governments the right tools and relevant data for more informed decision-making and better outcomes for the public.

Over 1,400 public agencies in 48 states use OpenGov software. Founded in 2012, OpenGov customers include the State Treasurer of Ohio, the city of Minneapolis, MN; Maricopa County, AZ; and Washington, DC. OpenGov is backed by top investors Andreessen Horowitz, 8VC, and Thrive Capital and has headquarters in Redwood City, CA.


OpenGov Contact:
Brian Purchia
OpenGov, Inc.

Published: April 18, 2017