Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont has vowed to make the Nutmeg State home to the country’s first “all-digital government” through the digitization of government services and streamlining of procurement processes. One of the ways he proposes to get there is through better data management.
In April, Lamont, a former telecommunications executive, unveiled his vision of a data-driven government to cut costs, improve services make government more user-friendly. A central element of the plan is an interagency data and performance management system, which the governor’s office claims in a press release will “bring private-sector discipline and customer focus to the mission of government.”
The performance management system will “introduce clear priorities and align agency efforts” around a wide variety of policy areas, including jobs and the economy, child and family success, transportation, and community vitality, according to the release. The performance management system will be housed within the state’s Office of Policy and Management and will be managed in close collaboration with the governor’s office.
Lamont named David Wilkinson, who has been the commissioner of the Connecticut Office of Early Childhood for two years, as the state’s first chief performance officer. He has been charged with working to enhance cross-agency data sharing in ways that that “increase efficiencies and generate value,” according to the governor’s office.
Connecticut Aims to Harness Data to Improve Services
It is unclear which specific technologies will underpin the new system, though it is likely going to include data analytics capabilities and potentially artificial intelligence.
The desired end result is a suite of citizen services that are more user-friendly and a government that is easier to interact with than before. Connecticut also wants to make services more efficient, both in how government workers spend time and where the state invests money.
As in other states, Connecticut residents currently interact with the government in myriad ways, from renewing a driver’s license to enrolling in programs or starting a business. Lamont envisions a shift toward “simple web-based interactions” that “will begin to replace redundant requests and standing in line.”
The state also wants to link data from different sources to drive savings. For example, Lamont’s office notes, individuals experiencing homelessness who have severe mental health challenges can revolve in and out of jails and emergency rooms, which not only costs the state money but can lead to unfortunate outcomes for the individuals involved.
“By linking jail and emergency room data, the state can reveal the portion of homeless population for which supportive housing would yield savings to the state and better results for our most vulnerable,” the release notes.
Similarly, state agencies involved in child care, housing and transportation can collaborate and share data so that low-income parents can travel to and complete job training programs, which, in the long run, will reduce state expenditures on welfare benefits.
“I think that Connecticut is taking an approach that’s unlike any other state,” Wilkinson tells Government Technology. “So we are not only launching a performance management system, but also buttressing that with, I think, a really exciting approach to digital transformation and data and procurement policy.”
Wilkerson will also move to create a “digital front door” to help deliver streamlined online services. “Our residents expect excellent services online and our government hasn’t really kept up,” he says.