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the direct purpose of making determinations about individuals and economic entities should remain with the
program agencies. b. Data collection for specific regulatory
purposes (as opposed to the compilation of aggregated information) should remain with regulatory agencies.
collection, tabulation, or release of basic data. (Procedures for handling sensitive releases are described in Statistical Policy Directive No. 4 which is available upon request from the Office of Federal Statistical Policy and Standards.)
7. Statistical centers and other statistical units
should be staffed with qualified statistical personnel. (Further detail is provided in the Framework chapter on professional staff development.)
Analysis Function 1. Policy analyses of statistical data should be
conducted in organizational units, not necessarily statistical centers, close to policy decisionmakers. The statistical collection centers should be encouraged to undertake analyses which will aid in understanding and improving the basic statistics.
2. Clearly developed documentation concerning
methodology should be published and subject to public review and comment.
Further exceptions should be granted: c. When, because of the type of analysis to be
conducted, the sponsoring agency must have access to an identifiable information record about a person, company or institution (this does not include access to
anonymous individual records). d. when it can be demonstrated that the data
collection can be better conducted by a company or institution outside of the
Federal Government. 2. To the extent that suitable statistical concepts
have been followed, regulatory data should be utilized by statistical centers to provide statistical estimates without requiring duplication in data collection. (Data collection which is used to determine if an organization or institution is in compliance is called regulatory data collection if that is the primary
purpose of the data collection effort.) 3. Identifiable data on specific firms or
individuals should not be released by the statistical centers except to other protected enclaves, unless prescribed by existing law at the time the individual response is collected. (This concept is discussed in detail in the
Framework chapter on confidentiality.) 4. Data collection requirements for repetitive
programs and single-time projects should be explicit concerning purpose, methods, and expected release date. (Obviously, all efforts should be made to assure the timely release of
statistical results.) 5. Statistical centers should have a methodology
development and evaluation capability to ensure the implementation of high quality standards. Releases should always include indicators of data quality, possibly including discussion of sources. (This is discussed further in the Framework chapter on statistical
methodology.) 6. There should be no opportunity for, or even
“appearance” of, political involvement in the
3. Qualified statistical personnel should be in
volved in the design and analysis of specific program-related data efforts. Statistical collection centers or major statistical analysis agencies will often serve this function in cases where in-house staff is not available.
In the Spring of 1978, the Statistical System Project in the President's Reorganization Project was initiated. It is likely that this review of Federal statistical agencies will lead to further refinement of these principles and will result in proposals for improvement of the institutional character of statistical organizations. Since that study has just been initiated, it is not appropriate to further develop organizational principles in this Framework. Rather, the 1979 revision of the Framework should take into account the results of the recommendations of the President's Reorganization Project. In effect, the chapters which have been referenced with specific proposed principles should serve as important inputs to the Statistical System Project.
The balance of this organizational chapter will be devoted to a description of existing roles and missions for the 38 important agencies which have been selected for consideration and review.
Policy Coordination and Planning
data collection by Federal independent regulatory
agencies are exempt from such reviews. The Office General Coordination Agency
has been given responsibility for the substantive
review of statistical reporting requirements by the Office of Federal Statistical Policy and Standards
Office of Management and Budget which has final The Office of Federal Statistical Policy and
responsibility under the Federal Reports Act. Standards was established in October 1977 in the
Development of statistical standards is a Department of Commerce as the result of President
continuing activity. Among statistical standards, the Carter's Reorganization Plan No. 1. The Office Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) is probably functions with general guidance from the Statistical
the best known. A companion, the Standard Policy Coordination Committee which includes all
Occupational Classification (SOC), was released near Cabinet departments, the Federal Reserve Board, the the end of 1977. Council of Economic Advisers and the Office of
The critical functions of international liaison are Management and Budget. Under the Executive Order which establishes the Office, its responsibilities in
those of articulating the U.S. needs for data from clude review of the budget submissions of the major
other countries and international organizations, statistical agencies and substantive review on behalf specifying needs for improvement and greater of the Office of Management and Budget (under the
international comparability, and providing for an Federal Reports Act) of all agency data collection
international discussion of common statistical proposals for statistical information gathering from
problems. The focal points for the Office's the public. The Office staff chairs many interagency
international efforts are the United Nations and its committees which consider statistical issues of affiliated organizations, and the Organization for interest across departments, such as the Federal
Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Agency Council on Demographic Censuses. In addition, the Office is an ex-officio member of such co
Subject Area Coordination Bodies ordinating bodies as the Subcommittee on Economic
At present, there are seven major coordinating Statistics of the Economic Policy Group. The bodies which concentrate their efforts in one or more Director of the Office is also the U.S. representative subject areas. These bodies are described below, by on the United Nations Statistical Commission. department:
Mission. The Office's primary mission is that of Executive Office of the Presidentstatistical planning and coordination of statistical
Subcommittee on Economic Statistics of the programs, agencies, and issues across all departments and across all subject areas. It is charged with
Economic Policy Group developing a coordinated statistical program for the
Department of Commerceentire U.S. Federal Statistical System. The basic authority in this area comes from Section 103 of the Federal Agency Council on Demographic Budget and Accounting Procedures Act of 1950. The Censuses Office ensures that planning for statistical programs
Department of Health, Education and Welfareis an interagency matter. It takes the lead in formulating recommendations to the Director of Education Data Acquisition Council OMB on statistical budgets. These recommendations
Health Data Policy Committee are presented in a coordinated fashion after priorities for improvement have been carefully studied over a Advisory Council on Education Statistics period of several months.
U.S. National Committee on Vital and Health The other major missions of Office include: (1) Statistics review of statistical data gathering proposals as
Department of Energyrequired by the Federal Reports Act of 1942, (2) establishment of statistical standards and definitions, Federal Interagency Council on Energy and (3) international statistical liaison. The Federal Information. Reports Act requires review of all new or revised forms for gathering information from ten or more
The Subcommittee on Economic Statistics of the respondents, so as to coordinate Federal information
Economic Policy Group requests and to minimize public reporting burden and governmental costs associated with Federal re- The Economic Policy Group, which is concerned ports. The tax forms of the Treasury Department and with developing overall economic policy for the
Policy and Standards a better idea of priority data needs over the next several years.
The Council as a whole meets infrequently, but there is a substructure of ten subject matter committees which work on expressed areas of concern. The ten committees cover the following: general demography, disability, health, education, race and ethnicity, income, housing, transportation, labor force, and occupational classification.
Federal Government, is interested in the quality of the information which is used to make policy determinations. A few years ago the Subcommittee on Economic Statistics was organized. It is chaired by a member of the Council of Economic Advisers. The purpose of this Subcommittee is to examine various important data series which are used for macroeconomic policy determinations and to make recommendations for the improvement of those series. Major areas of concern to the Subcommittee have included statistics on prices, employment, inventories, corporate profits, and agricultural production. The Subcommittee is composed of data users and data producers. The members include the Council of Economic Advisers, the Department of the Treasury, the Federal Reserve Board, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) as data users; and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Bureau of the Census, the Bureau of Economic Analysis, and the Department of Agriculture as data producers.
The Subcommittee operates by making recommendations to the various data-producing agencies concerning improvements in their programs, by participating with the OMB in reviewing agency budget submissions, and in the final analysis by making recommendations to the Economic Policy Group, itself, for improved statistical programs. The Subcommittee works very closely with the Office of Federal Statistical Policy and Standards in identifying issues and areas of concern and in evaluating alternative solutions.
The Education Data Acquisition Council
At present, the Education Data Acquisition Council (EDAC), which was instituted in 1975, is the only permanent mechanism within the Education Division of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare for the review of activities and concerns related to education data acquisition. EDAC advises the Assistant Secretary for Education on educational data policy. Development of the Annual Data Plan for the Education Division is its major operational task for each fiscal year. EDAC serves as a forum for detecting possible areas of duplication or even conflict among agencies or agency components regarding data acquisition. It recommends the inclusion or exclusion of data surveys or reporting systems in the Plan, and develops criteria and standards for approval of studies.
Component units of the Education Division, including the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Education, the National Center for Education Statistics, the Office of Education, and the National Institute of Education, as well as the DHEW Office for Civil Rights, are members. In addition, the Office of Federal Statistical Policy and Standards, and the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation/Education in DHEW, participate in the EDAC policy council.
The Federal Agency Council on Demographic Censuses
The Health Data Policy Committee
In 1974, the Statistical Policy Division of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), in conjunction with the Bureau of the Census, established an interagency committee to review plans for the 1980 census. When the statistical policy functions of OMB were transferred to the Department of Commerce responsibility for this Council was also shifted. Over 90 agencies serve on the Council, which was converted in mid-1978 to a standing Council to advise on both the decennial and mid-decade censuses.
The Council is not a policymaking body, but serves to facilitate the exchange of information and ideas. It provides a formal mechanism for all interested agencies to express their views on content, program data needs, geographic area requirements, reliability requirements, and so forth. While all agency needs cannot be met by the 1980 decennial census, this mechanism will give the Office of Federal Statistical
The Assistant Secretary for Health in the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare established the Health Data Policy Committee in March 1974 to assist in obtaining policy guidance and in coordination of departmental health data requirements. In 1977, when the creation of the Health Care Financing Administration realigned the health care functions within the Department with HCFA reporting directly to the Office of the Secretary of HEW, the major coordinative function of the Committee ceased to exist. The Department is presently planning to replace this Committee with a Departmental Health Data Advisory Committee, whose function will be to coordinate statistical
addition, it must submit a report on its activities to Congress in March of each year.
The Council reviews general policies for the operation of the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), and is responsible for establishing standards to ensure that the statistics and analyses disseminated by NCES are of high quality and are not subject to political influence.
activities within the Department and to advise the Secretary of HEW on crosscutting issues in health and health related statistics. A Health Statistics Coordinating Committee has also been established, within PHS, to assist the Assistant Secretary for Health in technical and operational coordination among the PHS agencies.
At the time this edition of the Framework goes to press, the new Departmental Committee has not been established. Since the function is very important, the balance of this description relates to the standing (but inactive) Health Data Policy Committee, which produced the Department's annual Health Statistics Plan. The Committee's charter emphasized the need for policies that would result in coordinated activities, complementary statistics, and minimized burden. The Committee addressed topics for which departmental policies and decisions were being formulated
The U.S. National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics
The Committee was co-chaired by the Director, Office of Policy Development and Planning and the Director of the National Center for Health Statistics. When active it met approximately once each month. All six Public Health Service agencies, the Social Security Administration, the Health Care Financing Administration, and other units of the Department were members, with the Office of Federal Statistical Policy and Standards, the Veterans Administration, and the Department of Defense as invited observers.
The Committee advised the Assistant Secretary for Health on specific data needed for current and long term planning and management, and provided a locus within the Department for liaison on matters dealing with health data.
The U.S. National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics was originally established in 1949. In 1975, under P.L. 93-353, it was reconstituted. This Committee is advisory to the Assistant Secretary for Health in the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare and through him to the Secretary of the Department. There are 15 members on the Committee including representatives of the following disciplines: health statistics, epidemiology, and the provision of health services. The Committee is largely composed of members from the public. It is required to meet at least twice a year, but usually meets three or four times a year.
The Committee's charter states that it shall assist and advise the Secretary and Assistant Secretary to delineate statistical problems bearing on health and health services which are of national or international interest; to stimulate studies of such problems or to make investigations of such problems through subcommittees; to determine, approve, and revise the terms, definitions, classifications and guidelines for assessing health status and health services, their distribution and cost; to issue an annual report on the state of the Nation's health, its health services, their cost and distribution; and to make proposals for the improvement of the Nation's health statistics and health information systems.
The Executive Secretary of the Committee is an official of the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), and the Committee's budget is included in that of NCHS.
The Advisory Council on Education Statistics
The Federal Interagency Council on Energy Information
The Advisory Council on Education Statistics, mandated by P.L 93-380 and formally established on June 28, 1975, represents the first broad-based external committee to assist in the planning of Federal education statistics. It is advisory to both the Secretary and the Assistant Secretary for Education in the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. It is composed of seven appointed members and four ex officio members (the Commissioner of Education, the Director of the National Institute of Education, the Director of the Bureau of the Census, and the Commissioner of Labor Statistics). The Assistant Secretary for Education is the presiding official and a nonvoting member. The seven appointed members are representatives of the public, from the educational and the statistical communities. The Council must meet at least four times a year. In
The Federal Interagency Council on Energy Information is the principal interagency organization for energy statistics. Its main role is to improve the quality of Federal information on various aspects of energy-related data including reserves, resources and exploration, production, transportation, consumption, and industrial organization. The Interagency Council operates with the use of
specialized task forces which examine various aspects of the statistical system. Subjects discussed in the task forces have included the development of standard energy terminology, the development of a data element dictionary identifying data collected by the various agencies, and improvements in energy consumption data.
The Council is composed of the major energy statistics user and producer agencies. These include, among others, the Energy Information Administration in the Department of Energy, the Bureau of the Census, the Bureau of Mines, the U.S. Geological Survey, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and the Office of Federal Statistical Policy and Standards. The General Accounting Office participates as an observer in this group. At present, the Council is not separately funded, but relies upon a voluntary dedication of time by the members and member agencies.
In its setting of standard definitions and bringing together of data element dictionaries, and its updating of the Federal Energy Information Locator System, the Council serves an important coordination role. As the sponsor of studies in particular areas, e.g., energy consumption in the industrial sector, the Council provides a forum for discussing emerging concerns and making recommendations to particular agencies concerning improvements in their data systems so as to facilitate the needs of all users.
National Center for Health Statistics
3. Housing and Urban Development Office of
the Assistant Secretary for Policy Development and Research (Sponsor)
4. Interior-Bureau of Mines
National Criminal Justice Information
Federal Bureau of Investigation 6. Labor-Employment and Training
Administration (Sponsor) 7. Treasury-Division of Statistics, Internal
8. Environmental Protection Agency The sections below briefly describe the agency activities or roles, concluding with a brief statement of overall missions.
Collection Agencies The agencies described as Core Multipurpose Collection agencies are those whose primary mission is the collection of statistics of broad interest both across departments and across subject areas, each of them being responsible for the regular collection, and publication of data in specified subject areas. In some cases extensive analysis of the data is also provided; hence there is an overlap with the analysis agencies in certain areas. As a group, the collection agencies account for a large proportion of the statistical activities of government agencies.
The agencies described as Subject Matter Multipurpose Collection agencies are those whose primary mission is the actual collection of statistics or the sponsorship of the collection of statistics of general interest, i.e., across departments, in one or two particular subject areas. There are seven agencies which do the collection and three which are primarily sponsors.
Core Multipurpose Collection Agencies Statistics Units, Economics, Statistics and Cooperatives Service, Department of Agriculture
Within the Economics, Statistics and Cooperatives Service (ESCS) of the Department of Agriculture (USDA), Statistics Units (formerly the Statistical Reporting Service) function as the principal statistical collection groups and consultants on statistical methods. These units collect a wide variety of current agricultural data for other USDA agencies on a reimbursable basis. Frequently these data are collected on a continuing basis. Formal cooperative agreements are maintained with 48 States through State departments of agriculture, universities, and