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O'Malley en route to London to tout CitiStat

Gov. Martin O'Malley is heading to London this week to tout the CitiStat program he developed as Baltimore's mayor.

O'Malley on Tuesday was en route to England for what organizers described as an invitation-only discussion Wednesday with 25 policy experts, local government officials and civil servants eager to know how he used data to support economic growth in Baltimore.

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The London think-tank Centre for Cities invited O'Malley to host a talk on "transforming a city through better use of evidence," a topic Maryland's wonky two-term governor particularly enjoys.

O'Malley, a Democrat, has earned accolades from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, among others, for using data to hold government officials accountable. The governor, who is weighing a 2016 presidential bid, has described himself as a "performance-driven progressive."

Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake continues to use the CitiStat program O'Malley developed in his administration to audit the performance of government and take managers to task for failure.

O'Malley also brought the concept to state government eight years ago and build the StateStat program to use data to monitor government progress and efficiency.

In London, the discussion is expected to focus on how data can be used to spur economic growth in cities, which is not exactly how CitiStat had been used in Baltimore. The program in Baltimore audits trash pick up, crime statistics, domestic violence rates, efficiency of homeless shelters, contract compliance and dozens of other municipal services.

Like most American cities, Baltimore's economy has yet to fully rebound from the recession.

O'Malley spokeswoman Nina Smith said the governor was traveling Tuesday and would be in London on Wednesday and Thursday. Smith said there were no other events on his itinerary and the state did not pay for his travel.

Centre for Cities is a non-partisan policy institute in the United Kingdom that researches how to improve cities' economies. The Wednesday event is hosted in collaboration with another British think-tank, the What Works Centre for Local Economic Growth.

Update 6 p.m.: O'Malley will also give a talk to a policy think-tank, which promises he  "will lead a Policy Network briefing and debate on the future of progressive politics in the US, looking ahead to the mid-terms, the 2016 Presidential election and beyond." 

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