Advisory Concerning the City of Chicago Data Portal

An OIG inquiry has determined that the City does not comply with the requirements of Executive Order No. 2012-2 (E.O. 2012-2 or “the Order”), which governs the administration of the Chicago Data Portal. Additionally, in the course of several OIG projects, we have observed multiple issues that impact the Portal’s usability. As the City reengages with its open data strategy via the efforts of the Department of Assets, Information, and Services (AIS) and the movement of senior technology officers to the Mayor’s Office, we encourage it to focus on both meeting existing obligations and reviewing open data processes to improve accessibility, transparency, and accountability.

The City stated that it plans to “build on previous efforts to establish a first-class data program not only in open data but also in governance, privacy and protection, access and sharing. We achieve full transparency and accountability only when our data is accurate, comprehensive, usable, and clearly communicated.” It should be noted that the City’s chief data officer has been evaluating the City’s Open Data Program, and the results of that evaluation are in line with many of OIG’s findings and suggestions.

OIG recommends that the City needs to comply with the current executive order, which should include resuming publication of its required annual Open Data Compliance Report to provide transparency and accountability in its open data efforts. Additionally, to have the Portal more functional, as well as the data more consistent and accurate, the City needs to standardize and streamline its open data initiatives.