The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) recently issued a memorandum calling for expanded capacity and use of evaluation and evidence in government decision-making.
The document can be found here.
From the Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy ( http://www.coalition4evidence.org ):
“In a potential breakthrough for evidence-based policy, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has launched a major new push for the development and use of rigorous evidence in budget, management, and policy decisions across the federal government – see OMB memo Use of Evidence and Evaluation in the 2014 Budget to the Heads of the Executive Departments and Agencies.
The initiative incorporates many of the core evidence-based concepts we have promoted through our work with OMB, Congress, and the agencies and – because it is led by OMB and tied to the President’s FY 2014 budget request – is likely to have far-reaching effects on federal agencies and programs.
Of particular note, the OMB guidance:
States that “Agencies should demonstrate the use of evidence throughout their FY 2014 budget submissions. Budget submissions should also include a separate section on agencies’ most innovative uses of evidence and evaluation, addressing some or all of the issues [outlined in the memo].”
Describes concrete actions that agencies might include in their submissions, such as:
(i) Sponsor low-cost, rigorous evaluations that use administrative data to measure outcomes…;
(ii) Use agencies’ authority to “waive” certain legal/regulatory provisions, in order to rigorously test variations in ongoing programs;
(iii) Use rigorous evidence on programs’ cost-effectiveness to guide agency funding investments;
(iv) Incentivize evidence-based practices in agency grant-making programs (e.g., through a competitive preference priority in the grant selection criteria).
Clearly emphasizes evaluations and evidence that meet scientifically rigorous standards (e.g., through use of random assignment).”