OMB’s Push for Evidence-Based Budgeting Reinforces Value of Program Performance Research

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) just issued a memo calling for all federal agencies to submit evidence-based budgets that will prove program performance.

According to the memo, “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. 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.”

Clearly this is a move to enhance government effectiveness by using research to prove that programs are achieving the right outcomes. And, by tying this into the budget process, many agencies will be forced to comply by showing evidence of effectiveness.

The right research study can help federal agencies evaluate program effectiveness on many levels:

  • Determine expectations, needs and requirements of stakeholders (other agencies, citizens, business, employees)
  • Assess if programs are meeting the expectations, needs and requirements of the different stakeholders
  • Determine where resources and process changes should be focused

Federal agencies can benefit from borrowing market research best practices from the private sector. A research study in the form of a quantitative survey will provide agencies with evidence of program performance by arming decision-makers with statistically valid study results. And, relative to the total cost of a program, market research can be a cost-effective way to justify a program and its budget.

Be sure to read the full FedConnects post here.

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