By: Kathy Stack and Gary Glickman
June 16, 2021
Across the country, one of the biggest impediments to improving the impact of government programs serving vulnerable and marginalized populations is a lack of insight into the complex factors that contribute to better outcomes. To understand the root causes of poor health and economic security and develop effective solutions, governments must be able to integrate and analyze data from siloed services that serve those populations. While some states and localities have prioritized integrated data and analytics, many others point to a lack of state and local resources and a lack of clarity about whether and how federal funds can be used to create enterprise-wide data capacity that spans multiple programs.
There’s an exciting new development. Last month, Treasury issued interim regulations that include explicit authority for states and localities to use some of the $350 billion in State and Local Fiscal Recovery (SLFR) funds to “build their internal capacity to successfully implement economic relief programs, with investments in data analysis, targeted outreach, technology infrastructure, and impact evaluations.” By setting aside a small fraction of their SLFR allocations to build and strengthen cross-program analytics capacity, State and local governments can achieve an enormous return on investment that improves outcomes, advances equity, and increases efficiency.