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Program Evaluation

Program evaluation is designed to serve the Legislature of Wyoming, through the Management Audit Committee, by providing legislative oversight of programs that utilize public funds.

Through the program evaluation process, Legislative Service Office program evaluation staff systematically analyze selected state government programs.  This process culminates in written evaluation reports about the effectiveness and efficiency of programs authorized by the Legislature.

Evaluation reports contain timely and useful analytical material of a sort that is not provided by other sources.  The reports contain concentrated information about a selected program or issue: historical background, budget information, an assessment of problem areas, analysis of policy issues, and, finally, recommendations for change.

Since complex governmental issues continue to cycle through the governmental process, program evaluation reports are often useful immediately, as well as in the long term. Evaluations do not always find a single “right” answer to complex questions and frequently offer a set of options for consideration by decision makers.

Goal of Program Evaluation
The goal of program evaluation is to provide the Legislature useful, objective, and timely information about the extent to which desired program results are being achieved.  This information is intended to facilitate legislative and executive actions to improve state government and make possible the consideration of policy alternatives to current programs.

History of Program Evaluation
Program evaluation is a response to legislators’ demands for independent, thorough analyses of program performance and related policy issues.  Legislative auditing has changed since the Legislative Service Office (LSO) was first established in 1971.

The audit function was originally geared to conducting financial audits of executive branch agencies.  In subsequent years, it evolved into “sunset auditing,” which determined if a program should be continued, terminated, or modified.

In 1988, the function changed to its current focus, program evaluation, which involves evaluating the effectiveness and efficiency of programs and analyzing related policy issues.