In what it admitted was one of its “wonkier” postings, the performance.gov portal has said that the first deliverables required under the 2018 Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act provide agencies a “unique opportunity to rethink how they build and use evidence to improve government effectiveness.”
Under the Evidence Act, agencies are to produce this fall an interim learning agenda; interim capacity assessment for statistics, research, evaluation, and other analysis; and a fiscal 2022 annual evaluation plan. The recent revision to OMB Circular A-11 to carry out those requirements “provides a framework for thinking through how these deliverables relate to one another. Importantly, it also clarifies how these deliverables relate to and mutually reinforce agency strategic planning and other performance reporting,” the posting says.
It says that key points include that:
* “Evidence generation should not happen in isolation, separate from other agency functions. Rather, evidence generation and use must be integrated in existing agency processes and operations, including performance management activities.”
* “The Evidence Act included learning agendas and capacity assessments as part of agency strategic plans, creating an opportunity for the performance and strategic planning functions to better align with evaluation, statistics, and data communities.”
* “The process of developing a learning agenda requires agencies to engage stakeholders, including the public, and think critically about the priority questions that the agency needs to answer in order to more effectively meet its mission . . . The learning agenda also represents an opportunity to identify those operational or management questions that cross agencies and could be answered as part of a government-wide management research agenda.”