2021 Selection Criteria and Submission Instructions
The NLPES Excellence in Evaluation Award is presented to the legislative office determined to have made significant contributions to the fields of program evaluation or performance auditing during the four-year period beginning Jan. 1, 2017, and ending Dec. 31, 2020 (referred to herein as the award period). Only one award is granted each year. If no office meets the criteria for the award, none will be awarded.
Any legislative program evaluation or performance audit office may apply for the Excellence in Evaluation Award. However, the office that wins the award in a given year is not permitted to apply for the award in the following two years.
Note: The NLPES Executive Committee requires that the office receiving this award must allow its narrative to be posted on the NLPES website as an example for future award applicants.
Successful applicants must demonstrate the office's achievements during the award period in three specific areas: impact, body of work, and furthering the field of program evaluation or performance auditing as follows:
- Impact (50%) – Include information about the significance of your office's work and how it has positively affected state operations and policies. For example, applicants may show how the office's work has saved the state money, increased revenue, changed the way a program or service is provided, or led to new or rescinded legislation, etc.
- Body of Work (30%) – Include information about the work the office produced and how that work was accomplished during the award period. Any comments about information provided in Attachments A and B (described in the submission instructions) should be contained in this section. Applicants should describe how subject areas were selected for evaluation or audit and indicate whether the office used contractors to perform special work or reports. Examples of additional information that may be included to describe the office’s body of work are:
-- Any unique circumstances in your state that impacted the selection of evaluation topics.
-- A series of reports issued on a specific topic area.
-- How the office's reports clearly and effectively communicated their findings, conclusions, and message to legislators and other readers.
-- The use of unique or innovative methodologies to conduct evaluations or audits.
-- The number of presentations made to legislative committees and other bodies, if applicable.
-- Any noteworthy accomplishments or extraordinary actions taken by the office. Examples may include additional staff or appropriations given to increase the amount or breadth of evaluation work performed, new processes within the office that have proven highly successful (and might be useful to others to emulate), and other accomplishments.
- Furthering the Fields of Legislative Program Evaluation or Performance Auditing (20%) – Include information about the office's participation in NLPES, NCSL, and other professional evaluation or audit organizations; providing training or speaking at professional conferences or higher education classes about program evaluation or performance auditing; or working with or sharing information about the office's work with other states, local governments, state agencies, etc.
Submission packets for the Excellence in Evaluation Award must include the following:
- A completed Excellence in Evaluation submission form. A PDF version of the 2021 submission form is available here. Contact Brenda Erickson to request the submission form in MsWord format.
- A one paragraph summary/abstract of the office's achievements.
- A written narrative of no more than five pages in length which describes the office’s body of work, the impact it has made, and how it has contributed to the field of program evaluation or performance auditing during the award period. Suggestions regarding the type of information that may be included are provided in “Selection Criteria” section.
- Attachment A – An organization chart that generally represents the four-year award period; a table that shows the number of program evaluator or performance auditor FTEs by their relevant position in the organization; and the office's total annual expenditures, by year, for the award period.
- Attachment B – Summary information about the number of program evaluation reports, performance audit reports, special reports, briefing memos and other work products issued during the award period. If possible, include a complete list of all work products to allow judges to obtain an understanding of the topics covered by each type of work product. If such a list is unavailable, provide a general description of the types of information provided and topics covered by each type of work product.
(Note: Do not include financial audits or other work performed primarily by financial auditors, as this type of work will not be considered when evaluating your application.)
- Attachment C – Copies of up to three reports so judges can become familiar with the content and quality of your office's work products. Also, provide instructions for how additional reports can be found on the office's website.
- Other Attachments – Any relevant information that helps show the office’s results in meeting the selection criteria.
Email your application to each of the judges listed below by the May 7, 2021 submission deadline. Applicants are responsible for submitting all documentation and materials to be considered by the submission deadline. Judges will not follow up to obtain additional materials nor will additional materials be considered after the submission deadline. Please ensure that your submission packet meets all criteria for the award. Applicants are encouraged to confirm with each judge via a separate email that their submission was received. Documentation too large to email (e.g., video of a news report) should be discussed with the lead judge to determine a suitable method for submission.
Each year, the NLPES Awards Subcommittee selects a panel of three judges to review award submissions packets.
The winning office will be asked to make a staff member available to be a judge for this award in the following two award years.
The judges for the 2021 Excellence in Evaluation Award have not yet been named.
If you have questions about the Excellence in Evaluation Award process, contact the NLPES Awards Subcommittee chair:
Mary Jo Koschay