Creating clear channels of communication between Miami-Dade County and its citizens is complex, and overall civic engagement in the county is relatively low. The Fellowship program focused on improving citizens' ability to access and communicate with one of the county's largest and most complex services: building and permitting. The fellows worked to enrich feedback loops and improve service access with the goal of connecting local entrepreneurs to government.
It is a privilege for Miami-Dade County to be Code for America’s first government partner in Florida. This collaboration will drive a more open government, stimulate economic development and improve the delivery of regulatory services to our community. Code for America is an organization that has successfully advanced these capabilities through technology and innovation and the organization will be an important partner in our ongoing work to make Miami-Dade County more open, transparent and efficient.”
Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez, Miami-Dade County
The managers at the Regulatory and Economic Resources department knew that entrepreneurs were frustrated with many of the County’s regulatory processes, especially those surrounding permits and inspections. Fellows learned that county staff was only hearing from a limited range of entrepreneurs’ experiences as the process for gathering feedback did not establish effective dialog between the government and the public.
The Miami-Dade County Fellowship team worked with the Regulatory and Economic Resources (RER) and Community Information and Outreach (CIAO) departments to help improve service delivery throughout the County. Through process and technological improvements, the fellows designed a more inclusive way to collect entrepreneur and customer feedback in both English and Spanish.
Now when a business or customer wishes to leave feedback for the County, they can do so via a web or text survey in English or Spanish. This is advertised on the County website, at the physical location of service, and placed on related government notices mailed to customers’ homes. In addition to these accessibility improvements, the content of the survey was optimized for clarity and brevity.The fellows also created a public-facing dashboard where a high-level aggregation of survey responses is updated daily, closing the feedback loop that had previously been left open.
The MDC Dashboard applications will be maintained by the Miami-Dade Communications Department. Specifically, the hosting for the platform will be transitioning from Heroku to Amazon Web Services, which will allow more flexibility and stability will anticipated increases in web traffic. Miami-Dade County’s web team has also dedicated an engineer familiar with the Python programming language to maintain the back end of the application.
Meet the team:
Team Leads: Michael Sarasti, Community Outreach and Christa Erml-Martinez, Asst. Director of Regulatory and Economic Resources
Community Partners: Knight Foundation Miami