OMB in memo M-19-23 has issued guidance on carrying out the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act signed into law in January, saying that “investing in and focusing on the management and use of data and evidence across the federal government will enable agencies to shift away from low-value activities toward actions that will support decision makers: linking spending to program outputs, delivering on mission, better managing enterprise risks, and promoting civic engagement and transparency.”
“Despite previous efforts and resource commitments, federal agencies often lack the data and evidence necessary to make critical decisions about program operations, policy, and regulations, and to gain visibility into the impact of resource allocation on achieving program objectives,” it says.
The new law requires agencies to “significantly rethink how they currently plan and organize evidence building, data management, and data access functions to ensure an integrated and direct connection to data and evidence needs. This paradigm requires engagement and cooperation from multiple actors within agencies (e.g., senior leadership, policy officials, program administrators, performance managers, strategic planners, budget staff, evaluators, analysts, front-line staff, and data professionals) and key external stakeholders.”
The memo is the first in what it describes as four planned sets of guidance, focusing on learning agendas, personnel and planning considerations. Later guidance will focus on open data access and management; data access for statistical purposes; and program evaluation.