Blog Archives

OMB Releases Evidence Act-Mandated Guidance on Program Evaluation Standards and Practices

As part of its ongoing work to implement the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act of 2018 (Evidence Act) (see COSSA’s previous coverage), the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released guidance on evaluation standards to guide agencies in developing and implementing evaluation activities, evaluation policies, and in hiring and retaining qualified staff, as well as examples of best practices for agencies to emulate. OMB plans to release further guidance on how agencies should use evidence to more effectively deliver on their missions. The standards for evidence-building identified and elaborated on in the guidance are relevance and utility, rigor, independence and objectivity, transparency, and ethics. The guidance also identifies the following ten practices for agencies to consider as they undertake evaluation and evidence-building activities:

  1. Build and Maintain Evaluation Capacity
  2. Use Expert Consultation Effectively
  3. Establish, Implement, and Widely Disseminate an Agency Evaluation Policy
  4. Pre-Specify Evaluation Design and Methods
  5. Engage Key Stakeholders Meaningfully
  6. Plan Dissemination Strategically
  7. Take Steps to Ensure Ethical Treatment of Participants
  8. Foster and Steward Data Management for Evaluation
  9. Make Evaluation Data Available for Secondary Use
  10. Establish and Uphold Policies and Procedures to Protect Independence and Objectivity

More information can be found in OMB’s guidance.

Back to this issue’s table of contents.

Tagged with: , , ,
Posted in Issue 6 (March 17), Update, Volume 39 (2020)

ICPSR Launches Pilot Tool to Streamline Access to Restricted Federal Data

In December, ICPSR at the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research released a new tool to simplify the application process for accessing restricted microdata from principal statistical agencies. ResearchDataGov gives researchers access to a single portal and a standard application to access restricted data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Census Bureau, National Center for Health Statistics, National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics, and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. More federal data sources are expected to be added as the pilot moves forward.

The project is supported by funding from the Census Bureau under the direction of the White House Office of Management and Budget. It was created thanks to a requirement in the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act of 2018, which required that the government simplify the application process for external researchers to access federal data (see COSSA’s previous coverage). More details can be found on the ICSPSR website.

Back to this issue’s table of contents.

Tagged with: , , , ,
Posted in Issue 1 (January 7), Update, Volume 39 (2020)

New Advisory Committee on Evidence Building Seeking Nominations

The Department of Commerce is accepting nominations for a new Advisory Committee on Data for Evidence Building, established by the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act of 2018 (see COSSA’s coverage) and in accordance with the Federal Data Strategy.  The Committee is authorized for two years and is tasked with assisting the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in carrying out its statutorily-mandated responsibilities related to evidence-building, “evaluating and providing recommendations to the OMB Director on how to facilitate data sharing, enable data linkage, and develop privacy enhancing techniques;” and “reviewing the coordination of data sharing or availability for evidence building across all agencies.”  The Committee will be chaired by the Chief Statistician of the United States, who will appoint members of the Committee from federal agencies. In addition, at least 10 members will be appointed from the non-federal stakeholder community, who will have expertise in transparency policy, privacy policy, statistical data use, information management, and information technology, as well as at least one member from the research and evaluation community. Nominations must be submitted by December 4, 2019. More details on the Committee and how to nominate members is available in the Federal Register notice.

Back to this issue’s table of contents.

Tagged with: , , , ,
Posted in Issue 22 (November 12), Update, Volume 38 (2019)

Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act Becomes Law

On January 14, President Trump signed the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act of 2018 into law. Championed by former House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), the legislation represents a bipartisan recognition of the importance of science and data in helping to design and improve policies (see COSSA’s previous coverage for more details on the legislation). After the bill was signed, COSSA released a statement applauding the legislation. We will continue to report on details of the bill’s implementation as they become available.

Back to this issue’s table of contents.

Tagged with: , , , ,
Posted in Issue 2 (January 22), Update, Volume 38 (2019)

Evidence-Based Policymaking Bill Awaiting President’s Signature

After languishing in the Senate for over a year, the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act (H.R. 4174) was passed by both chambers in the last days of 2018 and is currently awaiting the President’s signature. The President has until January 14 to sign the bill into law. The legislation, which is intended to be a “down-payment” enacting some of the less complicated (and less controversial) recommendations of the report from the Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking (see COSSA’s coverage and statement), contains some minor changes from the version passed by the House in November 2017 but generally conforms to the recommendations of the Commission. It contains four titles: (I) enhancing federal evidence-building activities; (II) enacting the OPEN Government Data Act introduced by Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-WA) and Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI); (III) reauthorizing and enhancing the Confidential Information Protection and Statistical Efficiency Act (CIPSEA); and (IV) general provisions to ensure that the directions in the bill comport with existing laws and requirements. The Bipartisan Policy Center has published a summary of the Act and a crosswalk between its provisions and the recommendations of the Commission.

Back to this issue’s table of contents.

Tagged with: , , ,
Posted in Issue 1 (January 8), Update, Volume 38 (2019)

House and Senate Release Bipartisan Evidence-Based Policymaking Bill

On November 1, members of the House and Senate introduced the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act, the “down-payment” legislation that would enact some of the less complicated (and less controversial) recommendations of the report from the Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking (see COSSA’s coverage and statement). The bill was introduced in the House by Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) as H.R. 4174 and cosponsored by Representatives Blake Farenthold (R-TX), Trey Gowdy (R-SC), and Derek Kilmer (D-WA), and in the Senate by Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) as S. 2046 and cosponsored by Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI). The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform unanimously approved the House version of the bill on November 2, and the bill is scheduled for consideration by the full chamber on Wednesday, November 15. While the Senate Committee with jurisdiction over the bill (Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs) has not yet scheduled a markup of the Senate’s bill, Speaker Ryan is reportedly keen to see the legislation enacted by the end of the year, so the bill in the Senate could be attached to “must-pass” legislation, like an appropriations bill. COSSA has joined more than 100 organizations and leaders in a letter in support of the bill. Speaker Ryan and Sen. Murray had also pledged to introduce additional legislation to implement some of the more complex recommendations of the Commission, perhaps next year, although that likely depends on the success of the bill introduced this month.

The bill makes progress towards implementing 13 of the Commission’s recommendations, across the three major themes of the Commission’s report: strengthening privacy protections, improving access to data, and enhancing the government’s evidence-building capacity. Highlights include codifying Statistical Policy Directive #1 (which defines the responsibilities of principal statistical agencies as producers of relevant, timely and objective data while protecting the trust and confidentiality of data providers), mandating that agencies create evidence-building plans, establishing the roles of Chief Evaluation Officers and Chief Data Officers, strengthening the coordinating role of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and establishing a uniform process for outside researchers to apply for access to restricted federal data. The bill would also begin the process of examining the feasibility of the National Secure Data Service proposed by the Commission by establishing an Advisory Committee on Data for Evidence Building. The bill also incorporates a version of the OPEN Government Data Act (H.R. 1770/S. 760), introduced by Rep. Kilmer and Sen. Schatz, which would require that federal agencies make their data public and accessible by default (unless there were compelling reasons not to) and create inventories of federal data.

The Bipartisan Policy Center, which is housing the ongoing activities of the Commission, has published a thorough summary of the bill and cross-referenced the Commission’s recommendations with the provisions in the legislation.

Back to this issue’s table of contents.

Tagged with: , , ,
Posted in Issue 22 (November 14), Update, Volume 36 (2017)

Subscribe

Click here to subscribe to the COSSA Washington Update, our biweekly newsletter.

Archive

Looking for something from a previous issue of the COSSA Washington Update? Try our archive.

Issues

Browse by Month