The U.S. Department of Labor is committed to informing labor policies and programs with rigorous, transparent, and independent research and data. The Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act of 2018 (Evidence Act) requires the Department to publicly describe future plans and current capacity to conduct evidence-building activities across three reports: an Annual Evaluation Plan, an Evidence-Building Plan, and a Capacity Assessment for Research, Evaluation, Statistics, and Analysis.
Annual Evaluation Plan
To support the Department’s agencies in making evidence-informed decisions to support America’s workers, the Chief Evaluation Office (CEO) works with leaders and staff across the Department to develop an annual evaluation plan targeting evaluation resources on areas of strategic importance. The plan describes significant evaluation activities that the Department of Labor will sponsor in the upcoming fiscal years, though is not necessarily exhaustive of all evaluations sponsored by the Department during that time period.
The Evidence-Building Plan, also referred to as a “learning agenda” in the Evidence Act, is a systematic plan for identifying and addressing priority questions relevant to improving the programs, policies, and regulations of the Department. The four-year plan prioritizes important short- and long-term strategic and operational questions and describes potential approaches for developing new credible information to answer the questions. The Department is currently developing its Fiscal Years 2022-2026 Evidence-Building Plan, which will be published with the Department’s Strategic Plan in February 2022.
Capacity Assessment for Research, Evaluation, Statistics, and Analysis
The Evidence Act requires the Department to submit a Capacity Assessment for Research, Evaluation, Statistics, and Analysis every four years with its strategic plan. The Capacity Assessment provides the Department with a baseline to measure future improvements to coverage, data quality, evidence-building methods, effectiveness, and independence of their statistics, evaluation, research, and analysis activities. The Department is currently developing its Fiscal Years 2018-2022 Capacity Assessment, which will be published here in February 2022.
While each of the three evidence documents has a distinct purpose and use, developed individually, taken together, they provide the rigor, transparency, relevance, ethics, and independence that the Department has committed to in its longstanding Evaluation Policy.