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January 17, 2024

Celebrating Five Years of the Evidence Act

By The Evidence Team, OMB

January 2024 marks five years since passage of the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act, or Evidence Act. This law created a new paradigm for Federal agencies to more strategically and holistically build evidence and use it for decision-making. It also established a statutory system for program evaluation, which has spurred agencies to improve how they address pressing challenges by asking and answering evaluation questions.

Much has been accomplished in a short period, and the Evidence Act’s five-year anniversary is an opportune time to celebrate progress to date. OMB’s Evidence Team is proud of the advancements being made across the Federal Government to bring the vision of the Evidence Act into reality. In addition to those efforts led by the Evidence Team, this progress depends on the strong support of GSA’s Office of Shared Solutions and Performance Improvement (OSSPI) as well as the dedication of Evaluation Officers, their “plus ones,” and evaluation leaders and staff across the Government who do the hard, often unseen work each and every day.

Since is the home for the Act’s evaluation activities, below we highlight ten evaluation-specific accomplishments from the Evidence Act:

  1. Agencies designated Evaluation Officers to coordinate and oversee their evaluation activities.
  2. The Evaluation Officer Council has met monthly since 2019, providing a venue for collaboration and knowledge sharing, and the Interagency Council on Evaluation Policy brings evaluation experts from across the Federal government together to provide support, tools, and professional development opportunities for Federal evaluators.
  3. launched in August, 2021, providing a central hub for evaluation efforts across the Federal Government, amplified by the LinkedIn account and newsletter.
  4. Agencies published inaugural Learning Agendas, Capacity Assessments, and four years of Annual Evaluation Plans.
  5. OMB published the first-ever governmentwide standards for program evaluation (OMB M-20-12): relevance and utility, rigor, independence and objectivity, transparency, and ethics.
  6. Agencies published Evaluation Policies to guide their evaluation activities, many for the first time.
  7. An interactive Learning Agenda Questions Dashboard on allows users to explore where evidence is most needed across the Federal landscape.
  8. OMB and GSA (OSSPI and the Federal Acquisition Service) created a new dedicated procurement vehicle (SIN subgroup) to simplify and improve the quality of program evaluation contracting.
  9. For three years now, the Evaluation Community Awards program has recognized Federal evaluation leaders.
  10. The Federal evaluation community developed and participated in events, workshops, and resources to support evaluators across the government, including:
    • The Year of Evidence for Action forum series.
    • Over 60 evaluation-focused workshops for Federal staff, including a special series on equity in evaluation.
    • The Federal Evaluation Toolkit, a curated set of resources to help Federal agency staff at all levels better understand evaluation.
    • The inaugural Evidence-Based Decision-Making Leadership Academy to help senior Federal executives foster a culture of evidence and learning within their organizations.

The future is bright for evaluation and evidence-based policymaking in the Federal Government. Stay tuned to for more updates on what lies ahead!


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