Advocates for evidence-based policymaking and outlines steps to be used at all levels and branches of government.

“This report discusses how and why evidence-based policymaking is a growing national trend and reviews the [Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative] framework in detail to provide tips and strategies that policymakers can use to instill evidence in decision-making at all levels of government” (p.2). “Based on an extensive review of research and in-depth interviews with government officials, practitioners, and academic experts, the framework identifies steps that both the executive and legislative branches can take to drive the development, funding, implementation, and monitoring of policies and programs” (p.1).

(Abstractor: Author)

Major Findings & Recommendations

The Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative framework includes the following steps to “enable government to make better choices through evidence-based policy-making:” (p. 1) 1. “Program assessment. Systematically review available evidence on the effectiveness of public programs. a. Develop an inventory of funded programs. b. Categorize programs by their evidence of effectiveness. c. Identify programs’ potential return on investment. 2. Budget development. Incorporate evidence of program effectiveness into budget and policy decisions, giving funding priority to those that deliver a high return on investment of public funds. a. Integrate program performance information into the budget development process. b. Present information to policymakers in user-friendly formats that facilitate decision-making. c. Include relevant studies in budget hearings and committee meetings. d. Establish incentives for implementing evidence-based programs and practices. e. Build performance requirements into grants and contracts. 3. Implementation oversight. Ensure that programs are effectively delivered and are faithful to their intended design. a. Establish quality standards to govern program implementation. b. Build and maintain capacity for ongoing quality improvement and monitoring of fidelity to program design. c. Balance program fidelity requirements with local needs. d. Conduct data-driven reviews to improve program performance. 4. Outcome monitoring. Routinely measure and report outcome data to determine whether programs are achieving desired results. a. Develop meaningful outcome measures for programs, agencies, and the community. b. Conduct regular audits of systems for collecting and reporting performance data. c. Regularly report performance data to policymakers. 5. Targeted evaluation. Conduct rigorous evaluations of new and untested programs to ensure that they warrant continued funding. a. Leverage available resources to conduct evaluations. b. Target evaluations to high-priority programs. c. Make better use of administrative data—information typically collected for operational and compliance purposes—to enhance program evaluations. d. Require evaluations as a condition for continued funding for new initiatives. e. Develop a centralized repository for program evaluations” (p.1-2) (Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)