Resolution Supporting the Use of Data to Inform Decision Making

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WHEREAS, state governments collect vast sums of data—from disease outbreaks and marriage records to public school enrollments and crime statistics—as they manage a wide range of public programs; and

WHEREAS, the amount of data state governments collect will continue to increase; and

WHEREAS, states aim to most effectively deliver services to their constituents and achieve cost efficiencies; and

WHEREAS, there is wide variation in the capacity and ability of state agencies to analyze the data they collect to identify ways to better target services, improve service delivery, achieve cost efficiencies, and assess the quality of programs through research and internal monitoring; and

WHEREAS, sharing data and linking datasets has the potential to unlock new insight into the challenging policy issues facing states; and

WHEREAS, The Bipartisan Evidence-Based Policymaking Commission Act of 2016 (P.L. 114-140), signed by President Barack Obama on March 30, 2016, recognized that better use of existing data may improve how government programs operate, and established the Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking (CEP) to develop a strategy for increasing the availability and use of data in order to build evidence about government programs, while protecting privacy and confidentiality; and

WHEREAS, using data to inform decision making can allow state governments to make more informed budget, policy and operational decisions that improve outcomes for their constituents and better steward taxpayer dollars.

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that The Council of State Governments requests that the Congress and the Executive Branch work with state and local governments to facilitate a better understanding of the ways data can be leveraged for policymaking, budgeting and operational decision-making and pursue policies and incentives that promote data-informed decision to improved outcomes for citizens and increased efficiencies in government programs.

Adopted by The Council of State Governments’ Executive Committee this 11th Day of December, 2016 in Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia.