Ensuring the Public Trust: Program Policy Evaluation’s Role in Serving State Legislatures


To help meet this oversight responsibility, most state legislatures have created specialized units that conduct research studies and evaluate state government policies and programs. These studies—variously called program evaluations, policy analyses and performance audits—address whether agencies are properly managing public programs and identify ways to improve these programs and cut government costs.. 

Ensuring the Public Trust summarizes information about these legislative program evaluation offices, which vary greatly in size, organization, and activities—just as their states and parent state legislatures do. The report is based on a nationwide survey of legislative program evaluation offices conducted by the National Legislative Program Evaluation Society (NLPES); surveys have been conducted in 2000, 2004, 2008, 2011 and 2014 The surveys are sent to NLPES offices affiliated with state legislatures across the country. While some states have more than one office that conducts evaluations, some states have not established evaluation units. Generally those responding to the survey have active legislative performance evaluation offices. 

The report provides detailed information about the offices’ structure, staff, products, activities, and working relationships with their parent legislatures.

  • Part A of the report presents summarized information on the offices that responded to the survey that conduct program evaluations.
  • Part B of the report consists of one-page profiles from all respondents as well as contact information for auditor or evaluation offices in states that did not respond and would otherwise be unrepresented. 



Link to the full report

Number of states that responded to survey


PDF logo2000 Full Report (64 pages)




PDF logo2004 Full Report (53 pages)




 PDF logo2008 Full Report (73-pages).




PDF logo2012 Full Report (71 pages)



2015 PDF logo2015 Full Report (73 pages) 39


Note: The reports are provided as PDF files; to view PDF files you must you must install Adobe Acrobat Reader.