Beginning in FY20-21, the Tennessee budget instructions aligned the governor’s priorities with agency strategic plans. The instructions also encouraged agencies to invest in programs that were supported by research and evidence. The Cost Increase Request Form invited agencies to highlight their programs’ level of evidence based on the five evidence steps defined by the state’s Office of Evidence and Impact (OEI).
OEI reviews each submission and provides the Budget Office and Governor’s Office with a summary report for use in the budget process. The summary report objectively presents the evidentiary information and any available data for each programmatic budget request to inform the governor’s decisions regarding those requests. Departments may choose to leverage this information in presentations to the legislature.
While Tennessee does not have a statewide policy that governs evaluations and evaluation-related activities, Tennessee’s evidence framework and evidence-based budgeting process outline the steps agencies use to build evidence in support of decision-making. The framework includes a multi-tiered definition of evidence that captures program logic, performance data, and rigorous evaluation.