During each year's budget development cycle, offices and agencies make recommendations regarding the evaluations necessary to comply with statutory requirements and Executive and Department guidance. On a multi-year basis, the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993 requires the Department to establish a new five-year strategic plan every three years. The Department last updated its Strategic Plan in September, 2011. The evaluations summarized in the current report are organized under the Goal and Objective that they support under the Department's Strategic Plan. The statute forms an essential basis for evaluation planning. Typically, HHS evaluation priorities include congressionally mandated program evaluations, evaluations of Secretarial program or policy initiatives, assessments of new programs and ones that are candidates for reauthorization, and evaluations that support program performance management and accountability.
HHS evaluation activities support the Department's strategic planning and performance management activities in several ways. Completed evaluations help shape specific HHS strategic goals and objectives. Evaluation findings provide important sources of information and evidence about the success of HHS programs and policies. The HHS Strategic Plan highlights evaluations that document efficacy or effectiveness of strategic programs or policies and lists future evaluations that will benefit strategic planning. Agencies use findings from their evaluations to support annual performance reporting to Congress and program budget justifications.
As specified in annual appropriations authorizations, the Secretary reports to the Congress, plans for using PHS evaluation set-aside funds before implementing these plans. Congress has included in its appropriations acts that these reports, titled “Use of Public Health Services Set-Aside Authority,” be submitted to the Committee on Appropriations of the House of Representatives and the Senate before expending funds for this purpose. HHS sent the most recent plan–for FY 2012–to the Congress in May, 2012.