What Works Cities

WWC certified cropped

The City of Irving achieved What Works Certification at the Silver level in 2021. What Works Cities Certification, the national standard of excellence in data-driven city governance, evaluates how well cities are managed by measuring the extent to which city leaders incorporate data and evidence in their decision-making, such as resource allocation, program effectiveness, and achieving desired outcomes. 

Bloomberg Press Release


City of Irving Press Release

What Works Cities Certification Report


What Works Cities Certification was developed by a team of experts from Results for America in close consultation with the What Works Cities Certification Standard Committee. To evaluate cities, these experts conducted a rigorous validation process of cities' Certification assessments and participated in site visits to the highest-performing cities to determine the city’s Certification level.

The program has inspired a movement of cities that are doubling down on their commitment to building the most well-managed local governments possible and using Certification as a roadmap for doing so. More than 200 cities have completed a Certification assessment to have their practices benchmarked against the national standard. The assessment is the first step to receiving exclusive support from What Works Cities to continue building a more effective local government. To learn more about the program and how to participate, visit www.whatworkscities.bloomberg.org/certification/. 

Practitioners are those organizations that have partnered with Bloomberg Philanthropy to offer assistance in enhancing cities' use of metrics and data.

  • The Behavioral Insights Team (BIT) helps organizations around the world boost social impact by working together on improving the design of public services and measuring effectiveness using rigorous evaluation techniques. As a part of What Works Cities, BIT will help cities conduct real-time, low-cost evaluations of programs, so they can continually improve city services.
  • The Harvard Kennedy School-Government Performance Lab provides pro bono technical assistance to state and local governments. Through this hands-on involvement, the Government Performance Lab gains insights into the barriers that governments face and the solutions that can overcome these barriers.
  • The Johns Hopkins Center for Local Government Excellence works with cities to assess the current state of What Works practices and supports the implementation and enhancement of open data and performance management programs.
  • Results for America ensures a world-class experience for all participating cities, coordinates What Works Cities partners, and advances a nationwide dialogue on the need for cities to use data and evidence in decision making.
  • The Sunlight Foundation helps cities craft meaningful and sustainable open data policies.