Principles and Practices for a Federal Statistical Agency: Fifth Edition

Reflections on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Monthly Labor Review
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You may request permission to:. For most Academic and Educational uses no royalties will be charged although you are required to obtain a license and comply with the license terms and conditions. For information on how to request permission to translate our work and for any other rights related query please click here. We are particularly concerned that the proposed FITARA guidelines would prevent statistical agencies from guaranteeing the confidentiality of the data for which they are, by law, the stewards.

Even the perception of a lack of objectivity or a second delay in the release of market-sensitive statistics can have substantial consequences. Statistical Directive 1 specifies the responsibilities for which statistical agencies are held accountable. Federal statistics are used: to allocate federal funding and services to states and local areas; as economic indicators directing private sector investment and location decisions; in gauging the state of economic development, education, trade, transportation, health and other functions of government; and to evaluate federal programs for evidence-based policy decision making.

Policies & Information

But only the statistical agencies have the training and know-how to carry out the unique responsibilities given them by law and through Executive Directives. COSSA is a nonprofit organization serving as a united voice for more than professional associations, scientific societies, research centers and institutes, and colleges and universities who care about a robust social and behavioral scientific research enterprise, including a vibrant federal statistical system.

Principles and Practices for a Federal Statistical Agency: Sixth Edition.

Unlike previous editions, this sixth edition presents the principles and practices in separate parts II and II , with commentary on them included. Admission of the unsubstantiated, speculative testimony on probabilities was clearly erroneous. A statistical agency must be able to vouch for the integrity, confidentiality, and impartiality of the information collected and maintained under its authority so that it retains the trust of its data providers and data users. Census Bureau Josuah Comenetz, U. Michael Finkelstein and William Fairley , addressing themselves exclusively to that part of my discussion of the use of mathematical methods in the conduct of trials which criticized their earlier work, reply to several of my criticisms by suggesting that their intentions were far more modest than the methods of mathematical proof I examined. Timothy Trainor.

We urge that every effort be made to ensure that FITARA not undermine the work of the federal statistical agencies, work which is critical to informing policymaking, decision-making, and public administration. Our specific concern is that FITARA implementation could jeopardize the confidentiality pledges statistical agencies make. We understand and appreciate the importance of ensuring successful management and oversight of IT issues.

Integrated Research Support, Training and Data Documentation

Principles and Practices for a Federal Statistical Agency: Fifth Edition (). Consensus Study Report. Principles and Practices for a Federal Statistical Agency. Principles and Practices for a Federal Statistical Agency: Sixth Edition (). Consensus Study Report. Principles and Practices for a Federal Statistical Agency.

The balance needed in implementing these two statutes is evident in the fact that they are each separate titles in the same act, the E-Government Act of We emphasize that the respect for confidentiality, in reality and perception, is of paramount importance to federal statistical agencies and programs. CIPSEA, in short, requires that data, collected under a pledge of confidentiality and for exclusively statistical purposes, be used for statistical purposes only.

A statistical agency should also have policies and procedures to inform data providers of the manner and level of confidentiality protection and the kinds of research and analysis that will be allowed with the data.

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A statistical agency must be able to vouch for the integrity, confidentiality, and impartiality of the information collected and maintained under its authority so that it retains the trust of its data providers and data users. Such trust is fostered when a statistical agency has control over its information technology resources, and there is no opportunity or perception that policy, program, or regulatory agencies could gain access to records of individual respondents. A statistical agency also needs control over its information technology resources to support timely and accurate release of official statistics, which are often produced under stringent deadlines.

The directive itself, Responsibility 3, on conducting objective statistical activities, includes these sentences: "Accordingly, Federal statistical agencies and recognized statistical units must function in an environment that is clearly separate and autonomous from the other administrative, regulatory, law enforcement, or policy-making activities within their respective Departments. Specifically, Federal statistical agencies and recognized statistical units must be able to conduct statistical activities autonomously when determining what information to collect and process, the physical security and information systems security employed to protect confidential data, which methods to apply in their estimation procedures and data analysis, when and how to store and disseminate their statistical products, and which staff to select to join their agencies.

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In summary, we ask you to carefully consider the missions of statistical agencies and confidentiality requirements in the OMB FITARA guidance and urge you to allow the statistical agencies to maintain authority over their IT functions and personnel so they can continue to perform their work effectively and efficiently. Because of your comments, we have revised the handling of statistical agenices and units in the memorandum. Preserving the ability of the statistical community to conduct its important work in part depends on confidence in the confidentiality guarantees which it provides to its information providers.

To help clarify how to apply these requirements to the statistical community, the final memorandum includes language addressing this directly within the "scope and applicability" section. Thank you for your willingness to address the inconsistencies between FITARA guidelines and the law and Directives applying to statistical agencies.

The Federal Data Strategy: Principles and Practices

Any chance we could get together to discuss this? Your language does cover the CIPSEA requirement for confidentiality, but I am not able to tell whether it also preserves the responsibility given the statistical agencies.

General Government and Licensing Committee - May 21, 2019 - Part 1 of 2