Urban Analytics and M&E for a Smarter City Strategy
The Secretariat of Planning, Budget, and Management Modernization (SEPLAG) is a local government agency focused on strategic planning, modernization, and best practices in Niteroi’s City Hall. Part of this work is increasing the municipality's transparency. Two years ago, it was ranked a top-10 transparent municipality as in Brazil, averaging a response time of 47 days for citizen requests for information. Recently, the average response time has increased due to a burdensome and opaque process riddled with political machinations. To remedy this, SEPLAG sought the help of a SIPA Capstone team to ensure requests for information received timely responses. Specifically, they asked for a tool capable of capturing various measures of municipal transparency in real time, including visualizing statistical data on several aspects of citizen requests for information.
With that request, the Capstone team set out to develop a passive transparency dashboard. To confirm this objective, the team conducted a literature review of both general understandings of transparency and of other attempts to increase transparency across the globe, mapped and analyzed the sociopolitical infrastructure of Niteroi, and interviewed several key stakeholders. With this nuanced understanding of the current transparency infrastructure in Niteroi and of what SEPLAG wishes its infrastructure to become, the team created a tailored dashboard that will allow SEPLAG to identify and clear bottlenecks more quickly. This will both increase transparency in the short-term and set up Niteroi to become the most transparent city government in Brazil. Additionally, the team provided Niteroi with an implementation strategy and scale-up plan to make its transparency goals reality.