City of Evanston Partners with Accela to Share Restaurant Health Inspection Information on Yelp, Improving Transparency, Accessibility for Evanston Diners 

Evanston, IL. – October 20, 2014 – The City of Evanston and civic engagement solutions leader Accela announced on Monday that Evanston residents and visitors can now conveniently access publicly available restaurant health inspection information on Yelp.

Evanston joins San Francisco, CA as one of only a handful of local governments nationwide to share health inspection information on the popular website and mobile application. Diners can now view restaurant health scores, food inspection dates, and violations by visiting an establishment’s business detail page on Yelp. Residents and visitors can also view specific violations and previous health inspection scores.

“This has been a total team effort in collaboration with the City Manager’s Office, Information Technology Division, and the Health Department,” said Evanston Health Department Director Evonda Thomas-Smith. “We are excited to work with Yelp and Accela as they provide us tools to give our residents up-to-date information so that they can make the most informed decisions.”

The Evanston Health Department routinely inspects restaurants one to three times each year, scoring establishments on a 100-point scale. To manage and track that data, the Health Department utilizes Accela’s Civic Platform.

In 2013, Accela announced the availability of CivicData.com, an open data platform allowing governments to share public data in standardized formats. By sharing Health Department inspection data on CivicData.com using an open data standard, the City can now seamlessly publish valuable health inspection information directly to Yelp where it is easily accessible to diners.

“We’re thrilled to partner with the City of Evanston to connect their restaurant inspection information to Yelp through our open data platform,” said Maury Blackman, Accela President and CEO. “By standardizing and releasing this data, Evanston is providing more transparent access to information, which benefits the agency, its citizens and local businesses. They are a leader in leveraging CivicData.com and we look forward to more agencies coming onboard.”

In July, Evanston became the only city in the nation to receive the Public Technology Institute’s (PTI) Tech Savvy Award. The City is committed to utilizing technology to improve services for residents, visitors and staff.