Despite the passage of the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act, the Department of Labor (DoL) is providing low funding for evaluation activities compared to previous years, according to documents obtained by the Data Coalition.
In a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, the Data Coalition found documents that show DoL shifted $3 million from other programs to the Chief Evaluation Officer. The transferred funds come in addition to the Chief Evaluation Officer’s roughly $8 million in allocated funds. However, in past year the Department of Labor has transferred up to $27 million to the office, and the law allows them to transfer up to $75 million.
“The Labor Department’s continued underfunding of evaluation activities is extremely disappointing,” said Nick Hart, CEO of the Data Coalition. “The department’s reluctance to fully use this capability will have long-term consequences for policymakers’ access to reliable information on important and costly national programs.”
The Data Coalition also highlighted how the lack of funding comes as Labor’s Chief Evaluation Officer is being used as a model for other agencies, and as the department implements the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act.
The funds transferred to the Chief Evaluation Officer include four new evaluation activities and three new pilot project evaluations, according to the obtained documents. The office currently has around 40 projects under evaluation currently.