OMB has issued additional guidance on carrying out the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act of 2018, guidance that also incorporates President Biden’s memo on “restoring trust in government through scientific integrity and evidence-based policymaking.”
“OMB expects agencies to use evidence whenever possible to further both mission and operations, and to commit to build evidence where it is lacking. A culture of evidence is not a new idea, and there are already leading examples of this culture throughout government. Nonetheless, we cannot achieve our nation’s great promise unless these pockets of excellence are expanded to become the core of how the Federal Government operates,” says memo M-21-27.
Agencies “should engage in creating a culture of evidence in their agencies and support their staff in undertaking this work. This effort demands a comprehensive approach, and implementing this vision will require resources and prioritization from leaders,” it says. “At the same time, this commitment to an evidence-based government cannot happen solely at the top or in isolated analytical offices, but rather must be embedded throughout each agency, in program offices and management offices, and adopted by the hardworking civil servants who serve on behalf of the American people.”
Topics include an emphasis on the importance of leadership; building a culture of learning and evidence; use of learning agendas and annual evaluation plans; the evidence planning process; institutionalizing evidence building; and more.
The memo adds that OMB “strongly believes that implementing the Evidence Act is not a compliance exercise . . . Agencies should not simply produce the required documents and then turn their attention elsewhere; success requires that agencies develop processes and practices that establish habitual and routine reliance on evidence across agency functions and demand new or better evidence when it is needed.”