Data Sharing Increasingly Vital to Boosting Citizen Services
Take the Texas Homeless Data Sharing Network, which allows local governments, service providers, faith communities and others to access housing and resources across the geographical borders of homeless response systems, according to its website. It also makes it possible to analyze statewide homelessness data in real time.
Governments are working to bridge the digital divide “with more availability, affordability and adoption of broadband,” and have also redesigned digital platforms, ecosystems and infrastructure to reduce sludge, Eggers says.
For example, an agency might offer a form for food stamps, which might be 50 pages. How does that agency simplify the form dramatically to give people much easier access to it? “That’s really looking at the user experience and simplicity, bringing human-centric design,” Eggers says.
COVID-19 isn’t the only crisis governments are contending with. Climate change — as well as shifts in technology, economic disruption and supply chain issues — is another big area of focus for governments looking to build greater resilience.
“Climate change is increasingly shaping agency missions at all levels — central, regional and local,” the report notes. “Government entities must understand and embrace how climate change affects their missions — and act in a way that both aligns and advances their objectives.”
Climate Change Motivates Agencies to Assess Community Resilience
In the United States, the Department of Defense has recently acknowledged climate change as a threat to national security and has released a climate adaption plan to future-proof military bases, according to the report.
The state of California has also prioritized this, putting more than $37 billion toward protecting its population from the costs and impacts of climate change. In April, state leaders released the Extreme Heat Action Plan, “a critical part of California’s commitment to strengthening community resilience that will guide partnerships and investments in equitable solutions to protect all Californians,” Governor Gavin Newsom said in a news release.
“A big piece that cuts across a lot of these trends is that we’re increasingly living in a boundaryless world, where no single government agency can solve any of these problems,” says Eggers. “Increasingly, technology is going to play a really key role in connecting not only across levels of government but across the private sector.”
He says that moving forward, governments will be required to do more bridge building across different sectors, figuring out how to bring many players together to solve the most pressing problems.