NC Makes Honor Roll in National Report on Data and Evidence in Policymaking


North Carolina was recognized by Results for America as an Honor Roll State for its exemplary use of evidence and data to improve results for residents. At a virtual event co-hosted by the National Governors Association on Wednesday, August 12, 2020, Results for America released a new report that highlighted North Carolina’s evidence-based policymaking efforts.

Results for America, a national nonprofit focused on helping government leaders improve results by investing in what works, released the 2020 Invest in What Works State Standard of Excellence, which showcases 169 examples of data-driven and evidence-based practices, policies, programs, and systems in 35 states across the country. North Carolina was recognized as an Honor Roll State in 2020 for its growth in examples from four in 2019 to seven 2020.

As an Honor Roll State, North Carolina’s commitment to evidence-based and data-driven policymaking is demonstrated by its use of data-driven decision-making as well as its focus on evidence in the state’s budget processes. North Carolina’s budget process encouraged departments to identify and develop evidence-focused budget proposals so that programs continue to deliver results for residents. 

“Investing in proven efforts produces better results for the taxpayers of North Carolina,” said Governor Roy Cooper. “Results for America’s 2020 Invest in What Works State Standard of Excellence award again notes our state's progress in relying on data to make strategic decisions that build a better North Carolina for everyone.”

North Carolina participated in Results for America and the National Governors Association’s What Works Bootcamp training series. These peer-learning opportunities convene senior leaders in governors’ offices to advance the use of evidence and data in order to improve results. The programs equip top state decision-makers with the high-level tools to improve enterprise-wide performance and invest in evidence-based policymaking to help deliver results for residents.

North Carolina’s Bootcamp participants include: Joshua Davis, CFO, North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources; Jenni Owen, Director of Strategic Partnerships, Governor’s Office, State of North Carolina; and Kristin Walker, Deputy Director, North Carolina Office of State Budget and Management, State of North Carolina.

“The COVID-19 crisis underscores the critical importance of using evidence and data to drive decision-making at every level of government,” said Michele Jolin, CEO and Co-Founder of Results for America. “The 2020 State Standard of Excellence illustrates how many governors and state agency leaders around the country and across the political spectrum are rising to the occasion and investing in what works to meet the urgent needs of their residents.”

The 2020 State Standard of Excellence highlights how state governments can respond more effectively to crises when they incorporate evidence into their decision-making. In recent months, all 50 states have elevated the importance of data in response to the COVID-19 pandemic by creating public-facing dashboards to track key health and economic indicators in their states. States with strong existing capacity to leverage data are better positioned to respond rapidly to COVID-19 and focus their efforts on addressing the pandemic’s disproportionate effects on communities of color. Further, the 2020 State Standard of Excellence features a growing number of states that have invested in evidence-based budgeting, a key lever for funding what works in the face of a recession. 

“America’s governors are committed to making a measurable, positive difference in the states and territories they serve,” said Timothy Blute, Director of the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices. “They are using data to inform their responses to COVID-19 to promote the physical and economic health of their residents, and the 2020 State Standard of Excellence recognizes the critical role of data and evidence in state policymaking in this most challenging time.”

For more information about how states are building data and evidence capacity, state leaders can refer to Results for America’s Blueprint for Delivering Results in State Government, which serves as an implementation guide for the State Standard of Excellence.