Colorado Recognized as a Leading State in New National Report on Data and Evidence in Policymaking

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

DENVER - Today, Results for America and the National Governors Association highlighted Colorado’s exemplary use of evidence and data to improve results for Coloradans.

Results for America, a national nonprofit focused on helping government leaders improve results by investing in what works, released the 2020 Invest in What Works State Standard of Excellence, which showcases 169 examples of data-driven and evidence-based practices, policies, programs, and systems in 35 states across the country. Colorado was recognized as a Leading State for the second consecutive year.

“In Colorado, we strive to be as efficient and effective as possible in delivering critical services to the people of our state. For my administration, that means creating a culture of accountability, and using the latest data and information to drive our decisions,” said Governor Jared Polis of Colorado. “This has also been true for our response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We appreciate the recognition, and will continue working to provide even better services for Coloradans.” 

Colorado has served as a national model for using data to inform the way it does business. By building off of the Governor’s Dashboard launched in 2019, the state has demonstrated a continued commitment to harnessing data and evidence to meet its four high-priority, “bold” strategic goals. Colorado has made achieving these goals a statewide effort by creating cabinet working groups to support these efforts and explicitly linking them to the governor’s annual budget. Colorado also incorporates data and evidence into the annual budget process to reinforce the state’s commitment to prioritizing funding for those interventions that are most likely to achieve the best results for its residents. Taken together, the coordination of statewide goal-setting, performance measurement, and budgeting ensure state agencies’ spending and operations are aligned around achieving a singular set of state priorities.  

“The COVID-19 crisis underscores the critical importance of using evidence and data to drive decision-making at every level of government,” said Michele Jolin, CEO and Co-Founder of Results for America. “The 2020 State Standard of Excellence illustrates how many governors and state agency leaders around the country and across the political spectrum are rising to the occasion and investing in what works to meet the urgent needs of their residents.”

The 2020 State Standard of Excellence highlights how state governments can respond more effectively to crises when they incorporate evidence into their decision-making. In recent months, all 50 states have elevated the importance of data in response to the COVID-19 pandemic by creating public-facing dashboards to track key health and economic indicators in their states. States with strong existing capacity to leverage data are better positioned to respond rapidly to COVID-19 and focus their efforts on addressing the pandemic’s disproportionate effects on communities of color. Further, the 2020 State Standard of Excellence features a growing number of states that have invested in evidence-based budgeting, a key lever for funding what works in the face of a recession. 

“America’s governors are committed to making a measurable, positive difference in the states and territories they serve,” said Timothy Blute, Director of the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices. “They are using data to inform their responses to COVID-19 to promote the physical and economic health of their residents, and the 2020 State Standard of Excellence recognizes the critical role of data and evidence in state policymaking in this most challenging time.”

Colorado has participated in Results for America and the National Governors Association’s What Works Bootcamp training series. These peer-learning opportunities convene senior leaders in governors’ offices to advance the use of evidence and data in order to improve results and are designed to equip top state decision-makers with the high-level tools they need to improve enterprise-wide performance and invest in evidence-based policymaking to help their governor’s deliver results for residents. 

For more information about how states are building data and evidence capacity, state leaders can refer to Results for America’s Blueprint for Delivering Results in State Government, which serves as an implementation guide for the State Standard of Excellence.