M-12-14 -- MEMORANDUM TO THE HEADS OF EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES: -- Use of Evidence and Evaluation in the 2014 Budget


Start: 2012-05-18, Publication: 2012-10-02


Since taking office, the President has emphasized the need to use evidence and rigorous evaluation in budget, management, and policy decisions to make government work effectively. This need has only grown in the current fiscal environment. Where evidence is strong, we should act on it. Where evidence is suggestive, we should consider it. Where evidence is weak, we should build the knowledge to support better decisions in the future.

Agencies should demonstrate the use of evidence throughout their Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 budget submissions. Budget submissions also should include a separate section on agencies' most innovative uses of evidence and evaluation, addressing some or all of the issues below. Many potential strategies have little immediate cost, and the Budget is more likely to fund requests that demonstrate a commitment to developing and using evidence. The Budget also will allocate limited resources for initiatives to expand the use of evidence, including but not limited to approaches outlined below. Agencies may include these initiatives in their submission at the guidance level or with proposed addbacks.


Name:Owen Ambur


Name:Office of Management & Budget



  • Jeffrey D. ZientActing Director

  • U.S; Federal Agencies

  • Chief Evaluation OfficersThese goals can be accomplished by different kinds of leaders, ranging from a chief evaluation officer who reports to the Secretary or Deputy Secretary to the head of an independent institute in the agency. An existing official could play the role, or a forceful new position could replace several less empowered ones. OMB invites agencies to propose in their budget submissions ways to strengthen the agency's evaluation capacity, within tight resource constraints.

  • Departmental Secretaries

  • Departmental Deputy Secretaries

  • Council of Economic AdvisersOMB and the Council of Economic Advisers will organize a series of topical discussions with senior policy officials and research experts in the agencies. The meeting agendas will focus on administrative and policy levers for driving an increasing share of Federal investments into evidence-based practices. We will plan summer meetings in order to help inform agencies' evaluation plans and budget submissions, and will also have follow-up meetings in the fall.

  • Interagency Evaluation Working GroupOMB will reinvigorate the interagency evaluation working group established in 2010 with a series of meetings focused on issues commonly affecting evaluators, such as procurement rules, the Paperwork Reduction Act, and the integration of evidence in agencies' decision-making process.

  • Performance Improvement CouncilThe Performance Improvement Council will convene research, performance management, and program officials to develop ways to improve performance measures, validate their correlation with outcome data from program impact evaluations, and use data analytics to support more cost-effective decision-making.

  • Office of Science and Technology PolicyThe Office of Science and Technology Policy has created a "community of practice" for agency personnel involved in designing and managing incentive prizes and has organized a Science of Science Policy working group that is developing tools aimed at establishing a more scientific, empirical evidence basis for science and technology policymaking.

  • Science of Science Policy Working Group

  • Dan RosenbaumOMB Contact