With the federal government's push to adhere to a transparent agenda,  especially in regard to budget reform and spending, local governments are also pushing for transparency within their communities.  Here are 10 reasons why you should shape your best local government practices around transparency: 

 

  1. Build Trust within Your Community   Making more information publicly available is an empowering act that will help rebuild trust between citizens and government.  Read about a recent Gallup poll that indicates how favorably local government compares to state and federal government on the trust issue, and find out what you can do to build high trust in your community.
  2. Gain New Ideas    Create an online forum for your local government where residents are encouraged to participate by providing alternative ideas.  Brush up on new ways in which communities interact with their governments online.
  3. Increase Community Engagement     Learn to use internal and external communication skills to build a more engaging community.  ICMA University workshops offer professional development skills that teach your local government leaders how to engage your community.  
  4. Understand Your Community's Needs Better    By measuring your effectiveness and performance, you are better able to gauge what your citizens and community need.  Read more here about how measurements can evoke transparency within your community.  
  5. Empower Citizens    When local governments are transparent, levels of trust increase.  When the trust level is high, citizens begin to feel empowered to take responsbility.  Read here about the open city concept.  
  6. Showcase Reform    By highlighting growth and change, you are able to give your citizens a sense of what you have done and what else there is to do.  Research about and statistical analysis of your functions are key to showing your citizens how you’re working for them.  ICMA offers research activities and surveys for your community. 
  7. Attract Citizens to Your Government    Use social media and GIS technology to build map data and increase operational efficiency.  Read about creating your community network with GIS social media apps from ICMA Strategic Partner Esri.
  8. Boost Your Economy   By adding a new set of marketing tools and design, bring the focus back to the strengths of your community.  Read about Richmond’s local government and its transformation to rebrand and market its city. 
  9. Foster a Local Government with Professionalism   The more effectively a local government works with members of its community, the more business will be drawn to that area.  Practice transparency and bring business to your community.  
  10. Educate Your Citizens     Through social media, stay connected and educate your constituents.  Knowledge is the first step in making change.  Read more about the advantages of social media and its use in local government practices.  

Want to learn more?  If you are looking to ensure that your local government is transparent, check out the Transparency Checklist.  Check out two cities that have been distinguished for their work in making local government a transparent community, Palo Alto, CA, and Williamsburg, VA.  

 

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