Reports of Inspections: Requiring the city staff to regularly report to the mayor and/or city council on the work of the lead program is a best practice to increase transparency and hold the city staff accountable for a well-functioning lead program.
- Rochester, New York adopted Resolution 23 along with its lead ordinance. That resolution directed the City staff to create a list of all the properties within the ordinance’s target area that should be inspected and then submit annual reports
“showing the number of properties in the target area that have not yet been inspected.” By the third year, the city must have all the properties in the target area scheduled. And in the fourth year, if the city had not completed an inspection for any property in the target area, it needed to list the reason why.
- In addition, Rochester also makes available online an Annual Review of the Lead Program, along with annual statistics showing the number of units inspected, along with numbers and percentages passing or failing.
- Cleveland’s lead law requires the Lead-Safe Advisory Board to “report, on a quarterly basis, progress and status of the City’s Lead-Safe Certification requirement and other lead poisoning prevention related efforts to the Council, the Directors of Building and Housing, Public Health and Community Development, and the Lead Safe Cleveland Coalition or similar organization.”
Tracking Elevated Blood Lead Levels: To measure the effectiveness of a proactive rental inspection program in preventing childhood lead poisoning, a city should track Elevated Blood Lead Levels across the city and within each zip code before and after inspection, looking for declines in Elevated Blood Lead Level. However, the data on Elevated Blood Lead Levels will be meaningless unless the city or state requires universal screening, which provides robust data to measure the effectiveness of primary prevention strategies. Cities may need an agreement with their county health department to share information. Data sharing is allowed and encouraged by the CDC. Read more about the importance of testing kids for elevated blood lead levels.
Reports of Third Party Inspections: Where a city relies on third-party inspectors, the city should institute a process for auditing those inspectors and sanctioning any found to have poor quality control. Further, having universal software and electronic filing requirements can populate searchable city databases and streamline both the city auditing of inspectors and the public accessing the data.
- Rochester, New York’s program allowed third-party inspectors to complete dust wipe clearance tests after lead remediation. The city discovered a number of private clearance firms were falsifying dust wipe tests. Because Rochester’s lead law gave the city the authority to audit and sanction third-party clearance testing firms found to have poor quality control, the city discovered the fraud and suspended the offenders from doing dust wipe tests for a year.
Developing metrics to measure effectiveness: Another best practice in lead program accountability is to require the city or an advisory board to develop metrics to measure the program’s effectiveness and a method for adaptive management of the program.
- Cleveland’s lead ordinance tasks its Lead-Safe Advisory Board with hiring an appropriate outside entity to produce” impact analyses” of the Lead Safe Certification program. The law also directs the Lead Safe Advisory Board to review the impact analyses and report on them to the City Council and other key agencies and stakeholders.