Best government Web sites: Washington's CapStat
When it comes to transparency, few state or local governments seem to strive for self-scrutiny as much as Washington D.C. Like many good state and local Web sites, the D.C. Web portal offers a number of services that allow people to execute tasks online: renew a driver's license, pay parking tickets, or turn on or off the water.
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In addition to those tasks, however, the city is undertaking a cross-agency accountability program, called CapStat, to tackle broad multiagency goals such as lowering crime and cleaning up the streets. The city holds public meetings with agency heads, assigns action items and holds them accountable.
The good news for the public is that much of the process is caught on the Web site. Meetings are recorded by video and future meetings are scheduled on the site. The site offers summary reports on various aspects of the city, such as the number of violent crimes in the last three years or the number of service requests received by agencies. Best yet, the site has an interactive map that can show where crime took place or which buildings are getting permits.
The National Association of State Chief Information Officers has picked CapStat as a finalist in the 2008 Recognition Awards.