Why does EPA conduct program evaluations?
Program evaluation is one tool that EPA uses to ensure that EPA's programs are run in an efficient and effective manner. Program evaluation can identify gaps in information and address where EPA's activities are having the greatest impact. Through evaluation, EPA can identify what is and is not working well in a program and use the results to make any needed improvements. This process will help EPA fulfill its ultimate mission of keeping the public healthy and the environment safe.
Also, all federal agencies are expected to use performance information to strengthen programs. The federal government has therefore pushed for a greater emphasis on evaluations to prove what is working and what is not. Program evaluations can help EPA meet these expectations and comply with federal policies such as those outlined by the Government Performance and Results Modernization Act of 2010 (GPRA), the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and the Government Accountability Office (GAO).
The Office of Policy maintains a central office to support evaluation of EPA and its partners' programs by:
- Providing consultation, advice, training and technical assistance to help EPA evaluate its programs,
- Developing evaluation tools (e.g., guidelines, templates, factsheets and online training) to help others conduct evaluations,
- Evaluating EPA programs and makes the findings publically available in the form of reports and fact sheets,
- Helping offices develop meaningful performance measures,
- Partnering with outside organizations to improve evaluation at EPA and advance the field of environmental evaluation, and
- Maintaining resources that are relevant to individuals interested in environmental evaluation.