The Evidence Act Brings Opportunity for Data Governance –

By neub9
3 Min Read
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The U.S. government passed the “Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act of 2018,” also known as the “Evidence Act,” on January 14, 2019. This comprehensive data governance law requires federal agencies to designate a non-political appointee as Chief Data Officer (CDO) to lead data governance and data management, and partner with agency Chief Information Officers (CIO) to protect and safeguard data. However, five years after its passage, many agencies are still in the process of implementing its key provisions.

Provision 1: Advance Evidence-Building Activities

Under Title I of the Evidence Act, evidence is defined as “information produced as a result of statistical activities conducted for a statistical purpose.” The Act requires federal agencies to designate three key officials responsible for implementing the law: the CDO, the evaluation officer, and the statistical official. Each plays a critical role in advancing evidence-building activities and increasing the availability and quality of data and evidence necessary to make informed decisions.

Provision 2: Develop and Maintain a Comprehensive Data Inventory

Title II of the Evidence Act requires federal agencies to maintain a comprehensive data inventory and publish open data using standardized, machine-readable data formats. Agency CDOs are responsible for managing agency data assets and creating governance policies to enable data sharing.

Provision 3: Make Data Available Without Sacrificing Confidentiality

The Evidence Act revises the Confidential Information Protection and Statistical Efficiency Act of 2002 (CIPSEA) by adding additional safeguards and criteria for Statistical Agencies. Over 125 federal agencies or units engage in statistical activities, with 13 agencies playing a significant role in strengthening public trust and supplying data that supports global research. These agencies often aggregate and de-identify large volumes of data collected from the American people.

The implementation of the Evidence Act is ongoing, with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) introducing proposed rules and guidance for CIPSEA six months ago, and still pending guidance on phases 2 and 3 of the Act. This presents an opportunity for data governance professionals to support federal agencies in complying with and leveraging the power of their data.

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