DC region counties top every population size for best government IT

The Arlington County government's web portal. (Screenshot)
The Center for Digital Government and the National Association of Counties have released their 20th annual list of counties with the best resident-facing government websites and information technology practices — and Maryland and Virginia counties top all lists based on population.

The survey identifies counties using the best technology practices, including delivery of government services, cybersecurity and use of emerging technologies.

This year’s counties ranked as No. 1 in each county population size:

  • Fairfax County, Virginia (1 million or more)
  • Prince George’s County, Maryland (500,000 to 999,999)
  • Prince William County, Virginia (250,000 to 499,999)
  • Arlington County, Virginia (150,000-249,999)
  • Calvert County, Maryland (up to 150,000)

Fairfax County was recognized for its Data Analytics Framework that improves data-driven decisions for business processes and service delivery. Prince George’s County earned its top spot for establishing an executive-level cybersecurity office organization, a new digital signature platform and policy, and development of election management apps.

Prince William County earned the top spot for, among other things, technologies used by emergency responders, including body-worn cameras, in-vehicle rugged mobile technology and location-based services.

The Center for Digital Government said Arlington County has a culture of innovation for its goals of cybersecurity and data privacy. Arlington is also using AI and machine learning to improve resident experiences trough its “AVA,” or Arlington’s Virtual Assistant chatbot, for walk-in appointments and call centers in multiple county departments.

Calvert County was recognized for its use of cutting-edge technologies for measuring resident feedback and sentiment, and its use of ChatGPT, used in processes such as drafting proclamations and correcting code. The county was also recognized for its high rate of employee retention and ongoing training.

“This year’s survey results highlight how counties continue to use digital tools to respond to top priorities by providing comprehensive access to services, expanding opportunities for economic development, and ensuring the ability to be resilient in the face of unexpected crisis,” said Todd Sander, vice president of CDG.

The organizations also named Albemarle County, Virginia, as winner of its 20th Anniversary Continuous Participation Award, for taking part in its survey every year since 2003, and ranking in the top 10 each time.

The report also includes survey results from county IT managers, which found the top initiative with increased focus in the next 12 to 18 months is cybersecurity — the top reported concern for the past 10 years.

Of those county managers responding, 24% said half their workforce is now working remotely, and 49% said half of their workforce could work remotely if the proper tools and policies were in place.

Full county rankings and survey results from the Center for Digital Government and the National Association of Counties can be found online.

Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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