Transforming Data Into Action: The Sonoma County Human Services Department


In order to centralize data-based initiatives, the Director of the Department worked with the Board of Supervisors and the executive team to develop a new Planning, Research, and Evaluation (PRE) division. PRE is establishing rules for data-based decision making and consolidating data collection to ensure quality and consistency. It aims to target resources toward visionary, pro-active program planning and implementation, and inform the public about the role of Human Services in creating a healthy, safe and productive environment. PRE staff spent several months studying the job functions of staff, to determine how they use information to inform practice, consulting other counties about their experiences. The PRE team developed Datascript, outlining two agency aims: (a) foster a decision-making environment that values and successfully uses empirical evidence for strategic change, and (b) manage the role and image of the Human Services Department in the external environment. The case study describes action steps developed to achieve each aim.

Harrison, L.
Austin, M.J.
Publication date: 
March 12, 2012
Publication type: 
Journal Article