Evaluation Officer Council
The Evaluation Officer Council is comprised of the Evaluation Officers designated by the 24 CFO Act agencies (those identified in the Chief Financial Officers (CFO) Act of 1990). It serves as a forum to:
- exchange information;
- consult with and advise OMB on issues that affect evaluation functions including evaluator competencies, program evaluation practices, and evaluation capacity building;
- coordinate and collaborate on areas of common interest (including development of deliverables required under Title I of the Evidence Act); and
- serve in a leadership role for the broader Federal evaluation community.
About Evaluation Officers
The Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act of 2018 (P.L. 115-435) 44 USC § 3520A formally establishes the position of the Evaluation Officer (EO) at CFO Act agencies. The Evaluation Officer, through the roles and responsibilities described below, and in coordination with other agency leaders, ensures the successful execution of the agency's evidence planning and evaluation activities. Recent OMB guidance, OMB M-21-27, affirms that the Evaluation Officer should be a senior career employee in the agency with the skills and expertise needed to maintain principles of scientific integrity throughout the evaluation process, ensure adherence to the agency evaluation policy, and uphold the evaluation standards in OMB M-20-12. Critically, the Evaluation Officer must also have sufficient time and resources to lead and execute this work, which requires limiting, to the extent practicable, the number of other roles that the Evaluation Officer is tasked to fill. OMB encourages non-CFO Act agencies, sub-agencies, and operating divisions to name an Evaluation Officer as appropriate.
The information below can also be found in Circular A-11, Part 6, §290.5.
RoleThe Evaluation Officer serves as:
- Agency champion for, and educates agency staff and leaders about, evaluation, including what program evaluation is, the value of conducting evaluations, how to discern high-quality evaluation from other types of analyses, and the importance of evaluation as a strategic investment;
- Senior advisor to agency leaders on issues of evaluation policy and practice, such as designing and undertaking evaluations, interpreting results, and integrating evaluation findings into day-to-day agency operations, management processes, budgeting, strategic planning, and other decisions;
- Participant in the agency’s Chief Operating Officer-led efforts to review progress on Agency Priority Goals and other management priorities to ensure that evidence is included and used appropriately;
- Member of the agency Data Governance Body; and
- Member of the interagency Evaluation Officer Council
ResponsibilitiesThe Evaluation Officer also oversees or conducts:
- Assessments of the coverage, quality, methods, effectiveness, objectivity, scientific integrity, and balance of the portfolio of evaluations, policy research, and ongoing evaluation activities of the agency, in consultation with other methodologists, such as the Statistical Official, when appropriate;
- Improvement of agency capacity to support the development and use of evaluation, coordinate and increase technical expertise available for evaluation and related research activities within the agency, and improve the quality of evaluations and knowledge of evaluation methodology and standards; and dissemination of evaluation findings;
- Implementation of OMB Memorandum M-20-12, Phase 4 Implementation of the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act of 2018: Program Evaluation Standards and Practices;
- Establishment and implementation of an agency evaluation policy that affirms the agency’s commitment to conducting evaluations and using evidence from evaluations to inform policy and practice. The policy will provide interested parties both internal and external to the agency with a clear understanding of the expectations related to key principles, such as evaluation relevance and utility, rigor, independence and objectivity, transparency, and ethics;
Required coordination, development, and implementation of the plans required under section 312 of the Evidence Act:
- Learning Agenda (evidence-building plan) included as part of the Agency Strategic Plan;
- Annual Evaluation Plan submitted in conjunction with the Annual Performance Plan and Strategic Review; and
- Capacity Assessment, included as part of the Agency Strategic Plan.
- Development of new, or improvement of existing, processes to integrate evaluation findings into agency decision-making and other functions;
- Management of agency's evaluation policies that uphold and adhere to the program evaluation standards in OMB Memorandum M-20-12 to ensure the scientific integrity, quality, and accountability of the agency's evaluation activities; and
- Use and dissemination of evaluation results throughout the agency and to the public, as appropriate.
The role of Evaluation Officer is complex and requires a wide array of skills. The Evidence Act requires the appointment or designation of Evaluation Officers “based on demonstrated expertise in evaluation methodology and practices and appropriate expertise to the disciplines of the agency” 5 U.S.C. § 313. As described in OMB M-19-23, and reaffirmed in OMB M-21-27, they must be a senior agency official with demonstrated, senior-level technical expertise in evaluation methods and practices as well as documented expertise in the disciplines of agency. This includes advanced education and training in an evaluation-related field, direct experience in applying evaluation methods to study Federal programs and/or policies, and knowledge of current analytic techniques. It is critical that Evaluation Officers have credibility in the range of relevant evaluation practices and methods, as well as appropriate expertise in the culture, disciplines, and policy areas of the agency.