OMB Issues Guidance for Agencies to Implement Evidence Act
>

July 2019

On July 10, the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released guidance to federal agencies for the first year of implementation of the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act (Evidence Act). The guidance focuses on learning agendas, personnel, and planning as part of new requirements for data use and evaluation activities under the Evidence Act.

The guidance provides timelines for agencies to report on the status of their learning agendas, with final submission in February 2022. While providing agencies with flexibility in developing these agendas, the guidance encourages them to engage stakeholders on agency learning priorities, identify priority questions, and use results to inform agency efforts, among other items.

Federal agencies were also required to name their chief data officers, chief evaluation officers, and statistical officials by July 13, with this information to be made available on agency websites by August 2. OMB provided requirements and qualifications for each of these positions established under the Evidence Act. Leaders of principal federal statistical agencies will be considered the statistical official of their overarching agencies. Chief data officers are required to delegate any responsibilities related to the collection of statistical information to their agency’s statistical official.

The guidance provides details for agencies in developing an annual evaluation plan; assessing capacity for the “coverage, quality, methods, effectiveness, and independence of their statistics, evaluation, research, and analysis efforts”; and developing and maintaining an open data plan. Agencies will be required to submit an evaluation plan for FY 2022 by September 2020.

In a connecting and parallel effort, OMB is moving forward with the implementation of the Federal Data Strategy, which is coordinating efforts to leverage data for government- and agency-wide activities with ethical governance, conscious design, and a learning culture.