Program Evaluation: Requirements and Expectations
Throughout this website, emphasis is placed on evaluation as a good management practice that helps managers make informed decisions. Ideally, offices are motivated to undertake evaluation-related activities to improve program operations and/or to establish evidence to better communicate the value of the program to EERE senior management, Congress, or stakeholders. However, in addition to an office's own self-motivation for engaging in evaluation activity, there are sometimes internal requirements and external drivers for evaluation.
Currently, EERE has internal evaluation requirements and expectations for Merit Reviews of proposals and In-progress Peer Reviews.
|Type of Evaluation||Current EERE Requirements or Expectations (as of January 2011)|
|Merit review||Project proposals for EERE funding will be reviewed annually.|
|Peer review||EERE programs and key projects underway will be reviewed, on average, every two years. Peer reviews should typically cover 80-90% of program funding.|
Over the years there have been multiple directives and guidance memorandum from the executive and legislative branches that set program evaluation requirements or expectations for federal programs. Many are listed below.
Executive Orders and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Memorandum
- OMB Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies, July 29, 2010 (Memo M-10-32) and Oct. 7, 2009 (Memo M-10-01) -- increased emphasis on program evaluation in federal agencies.
- OMB Budget Action Request (Memo 10-49), July 29, 2010 – mandatory agency program evaluation inventory to promote public transparency.
- OMB and White House Office of Science and Technology (S&T) Policy Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies on S&T Priorities for the FY 2011 Budget, August 2009 - calls for R&D agencies to conduct evaluations and strengthen capacity.
- OMB Performance Rating Assessment Tool (PART), 2003-2008 - set expectations for periodic systematic evaluations to be used to demonstrate results.
- The unprecedented requirements for transparency and accountability of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009.
- Executive Order 13450: Improving Government Program Performance, November 2007 - agencies shall spend taxpayers' dollars efficiently & effectively.
- GPRA Modernization Act of 2010 – each agency shall make available on its public website an update on its performance. Agency strategic plans must include "…a description of the program evaluations used in establishing or revising general goals and objectives," and Agency performance reporting has to "include the summary findings of those program evaluations completed during the period covered by the update."
- House Committee Reports HEWD, 2008/2009/2010, calls for EERE reporting on return on investment.
- Department of Energy Organization Act of 1977 (42 USC 5815(b)) – grants authority for agencies to carry out administrative activities, including conduct program evaluations.