Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act:

Making federal policy and programs more effective and efficient

Capital building The crafting, passage and signing of the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act is a shining example of how bipartisanship in Washington can lead to a more efficient and effective government.

President Trump’s signing of the law on January 14, 2019 was the culmination of several years of policy and advocacy work by Grant Thornton Principal Robert Shea — with help from the firm’s Public Policy and Public Sector teams and many other dedicated people of all political stripes. Below is a summary of this new law. Congratulations to all.

Grant Thornton — whose long-time work in the public and private sector has consistently relied on informative data-driven outcomes — strongly supported the passage and signing of the Act, which helps leaders, evaluators and others in government and industry improve their use of existing, secured data to make better policy and business decisions. The newly-enacted, bipartisan law calls for more data-driven evaluations of federal agencies to improve the success, efficacy and cost efficiency of their programs.

Though Congress funds and federal agencies implement government programs to help solve the nation’s biggest problems, more must be done to evaluate and ensure programs are meeting their desired outcomes.

The Act calls for new evaluation officers to be appointed to oversee the evaluation of programs and drive changes to improve results, in some cases redirecting taxpayer dollars to higher-performing programs.

The law will also facilitate data sharing among agencies to reduce the overall cost of such rigorous and thorough evaluations. And it includes specific guidelines on safeguarding collected evidence while providing full transparency — including the establishment of Chief Data Officers.

While the new law calls for the more complete evaluations of federal programs and more collaborative data sharing, it also includes strong privacy protections to ensure data isn’t released improperly.


Robert SheaRobert Shea
Principal, Public Sector
T +1 703 637 2780