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Annual Housing Survey, and the Survey of Income and Education) comes to about $43 million.

Second, there is the issue of privacy and confidentiality. Even in those programs where strong legal safeguards and technical procedures effectively protect the confidentiality of the information collected from individuals and households (as well as from business establishments), there remains a persistent fear that this vast complex of information might some day be used as an instrument of social control.

Third, there is the growing awareness of the burdens imposed on respondents by information demands that have a selective impact on certain groups. These burdens are both psychological—the “big brother is watching” syndrome-and economic—form filling takes time and resources which could be spent otherwise. Finally, there is the problem which is inaccurately referred to as "information overload," but which Dunn more properly terms “sensory overload.” Massive flows of partially overlapping, partially contradictory data beset by innumerable caveats and qualifications, and capable of diverse and conflicting interpretations, can be as effective as sheer ignorance in preventing rational decisionmaking.

It is this challenging mix of needed improvements in our data base, insistent demands for current information, and powerful social and economic constraints that must be dealt with during the coming

For both the policymaker and the general public, the utility of statistical information rests ultimately upon its ability to provide a sounder basis for the decisions that impel movement toward the achievement of our social and economic goals and aspirations. This requires, first, that the data user and the data collector be alerted or sensitized to emerging problems that require attention before they assume crisis proportions. When this awareness gives rise to consideration of policy initiatives, further and more analytic information is needed in order to suggest the alternative courses of action which merit consideration. At a later stage, when policies are formulated and expressed in programmatic form, feedback information is required with which the programs can be monitored and their effectiveness evaluated." A statistical information system must seek to respond to each of the above requirements if it is to be effective. A Framework for Planning U.S. Federal Statistics for the 1980's is a step toward developing that capability.

In this final chapter of the Framework, the preceding section has outlined some basic conceptual considerations which are important for the development of a U.S. Statistical System which is better able to achieve the objective of meeting policy needs and other analytical requirements. However, general concepts are not enough to assure that a properly integrated statistical system will evolve. In the remainder of this chapter, a strategy will be outlined for moving forward on the development of an improved U.S. Statistical System. This overview will consist of three components:

1. A discussion of organizational requirements. 2. A review of the key elements for creating an

integrated statistical system. 3. A work plan for addressing the tasks which

have been identified. Finally, at the conclusion of this chapter, there is a summary of all of the major recommendations which have been presented in the Framework. While a number of important details relating to individual chapters have been omitted, this comprehensive listing is presented so that the reader can examine the strategy which is set forth and make recommendations for altering the sense of priorities which has been developed by the Office of Federal Statistical Policy and Standards (OFSPS).

It is anticipated that this Framework will be a working and an evolving document. The ideas, as set

''Compare Martin Rein, Social Science and Public Policy (Harmondsworth, Middlesex, England: Penguin Books Ltd., 1976), p.31.


An Integrated View of The Framework The efforts to achieve greater integration in the area of social and economic statistics are primarily motivated by the need to respond to our changing perceptions of the problems we confront. None of our major problems are purely social, economic, political, or technological. Their resolution demands more systematic consideration of factors that cut across these traditional boundaries. Hence the need arises for a statistical information capability that can provide data reflecting these interrelated aspects in comparative perspective. As Dunn and others have pointed out, the collection of still more data is not the answer. What is called for is a transformation of our procedures of data collection and storage so as to Permit a richer and more flexible selection of variables for purposes of analysis and comparison.'

'For 1978 budget estimates relating to the principal Federal statistical programs, see Office of Management and Budget, Special Analyses, Budget of the United States Government, 1978 (January 1977), Special Analysis G.

'Edgar S. Dunn, Jr., op. cit., 189ff. and Appendix, pp. 229 et seq.

forth at this time, are subject to substantial modification as others consider the priorities ahead.

composed of the Cabinet, the Chairman of the
Federal Reserve Board, the Chairman of the
Council of Economic Advisers and the
Director of the Office of Management and

Budget (OMB). 2. There should be policy groups, often

interdepartmental, with responsibility for defining statistical needs and priorities in important subject areas. Program agencies should work through these coordination bodies to ensure that administrative and statistical data collection contributes as much as possible to multiple needs. Subject area coordination groups must work closely with the overall.coordinating unit described in 1. above.

Organization As this edition of the Framework goes to press, the President's Reorganization Project is initiating a major study of the U.S. Statistical System. The President's Reorganization Project will undoubtedly make a number of specific recommendations for improvement of statistical organization and for strengthening the ability of the Federal agencies to work together in a more integrated fashion.

When the Statistical System Study is complete (in less than a year from the time of publication of this report), it will be appropriate to take the detailed recommendations from the President's Reorganization Project and relate them to the concepts which are presented in this Framework. In many cases, it is anticipated that individual chapters may be modified as a result of recommendations from the President's Reorganization Project on the Statistical System.

At this time it is appropriate to consider the Framework as a resource document for the President's Reorganization Project. Many of the fundamental issues affecting U.S. statistics have been set forth in this Framework, but at this time the Framework does not make specific recommendations for organizational changes.

Statistical Centers


In Chapter 2 on Organization, a series of principles for statistical organization were set forth. These principles are important in the development of recommendations in later chapters and are set forth in Table 1 for consideration by the President's Reorganization Project in its review of existing organizational relationships.

1. Multipurpose and subject matter statistical

data collection must be undertaken by a
limited number of well qualified statistical
centers which are designated to serve as focal
points for the individual subject areas except
a. Collection of administrative data from

Federal applicants and beneficiaries for the
direct purpose of making determinations a-
bout 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. 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 of 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.)

Governing Principles For Statistical

Organization and Operations

Planning and Coordination Function

1. The function of a central policy group which

coordinates various subject matter groups is critical to effective planning and coordination. This is presently the responsibility of the Office of Federal Statistical Policy and Standards in the Department of Commerce. Under Section 103 of the Budget and Accounting Procedures Act of 1950 this office has the goverment-wide responsibility for arbitrating policy differences. It is assisted by the Statistical Policy Coordination Committee which is

3. Identifiable data on specific firms or

individuals should not be released by the statistical centers except to other statistical agencies which can function as protected enclaves within which confidentiality can be rigorously maintained. (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 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.)

Stronger Planning and Coordination

Throughout the Framework a large number of interagency tasks have been recommended in both subject matter areas and in crosscutting areas. These tasks are proposed to strengthen the collaboration among statistical agencies and to create more uniform policies. In order for these interagency tasks to be implemented, it is essential that the planning and coordination function be adequately staffed and strongly supported by the statistical agencies.

The establishment of the Statistical Policy Coordination Committee (which held its first meetings in the spring of 1978) represents an active attempt to involve all major Departments in considering the priorities which should be addressed by interagency committees and in establishing statistical policy. The Office of Federal Statistical Policy and Standards is the responsible instrument for carrying out the priorities established by the Statistical Policy Coordination Committee.

A considerable enlargement of the total resources available for planning and coordination activities in the statistical agencies and in the central coordinating agency is essential if the tasks set forth in the Framework are to be carried out. In a later portion of this chapter, a work plan is presented which is predicated on a reasonable enlargement of the total staff resources available for the planning and coordination function, recognizing that a portion of that enlargement will be derived from within established agencies rather than through the development of a large centralized staff. There have been a number of calls for improved planning and coordination in recent years. These include the following:

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. 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.

1. Committee on Post Office and Civil Service,

House of Representatives, "Coordination in
Federal Statistics Gathering Programs," 95th
Congress, First Session, Staff Study, Com-
mittee Print Number 95-1, January 28, 1977,
U.S. Government Printing Office, Stock

Number 81-699. 2. "Report of the Joint Ad Hoc Committee on

Government Statistics," August 20, 1976,
Statistical Reporter, September 1976, Number

76-15, pp. 301-310. 3. Government and the Nation's Resources, Report

of the National Commission on Supplies and
Shortages, December 1976, Library of
Congress Catalog Card Number 76-600075,
U.S. Government Printing Office, Stock
Number 052-003-00271-0.

sampling frame for statistical surveys. The Bureau of the Census has developed the Standard Statistical Establishment List to serve such purposes. In order for the Standard Statistical Establishment List (popularly known as the Industrial Directory) to be widely used, it will be necessary to modify Title 13 protection for Census material so that the names and addresses and related information contained in the Standard Statistical Establishment List can be shared among the various statistical agencies. Achievement of protected enclave status, as defined in the previous section, will facilitate such an arrangement.

The modification of existing laws so that the Standard Statistical Establishment List can be shared will lead to the situation where industry groups are defined using a common sampling frame. As a result, statistics from various surveys will be more comparable in character. Regardless of the nature of future statistical organization, the development and use of the Standard Statistical Establishment List should be a central operational dimension of statistical data collection.

4. Issues '78, 1977 U.S. Budget, Office of

Management and Budget, U.S. Government
Printing Office, Stock Number 041-001-00140-

9. 5. “The Center for Statistical Policy and

Analysis," a report of the Advisory Committee on National Growth Policy Processes, Chal

lenge, January/February 1977, pp. 40-43. 6. Eckler, A. Ross and Mills, Thomas J.,

“Planning and Coordination of the Federal
Statistical System,” Committee on National
Statistics, Assembly of Behavioral Social
Sciences, National Research Council, National

Academy of Sciences, 1977. 7. A Report of the Commission on Federal

Paperwork-Statistics, 1977, U.S.
Government Printing Office, Stock Number

052-003-00454-2. Thus, an important ingredient in moving toward implementation of the Framework recommendations is the establishment of a greatly strengthened planning and coordination function, both within agencies as well as in the Office of Federal Statistical Policy and Standards. Development of Statistical Enclaves

There are two basic recommendations for achieving greater integration of Federal statistics. One of these is the establishment of a set of confidentiality laws which will assure respondents that information provided for statistical purposes will not be used to affect their rights, benefits, or privileges as individuals or institutions. As a corollary, the legislation must provide that the statistical agencies which have complete legal protection for their data should be permitted, in a controlled manner, to share data files so that the statistical analysis can be enhanced by information available from other sources. This will ensure minimization of duplication and reduction in reporting burden on the public. Further, it will make possible enhanced analysis which is not possible from the information available in many individual studies.

The enclave concept is discussed fully in the chapter on Confidentiality. Implementation of the legislative recommendations will be an important first step in building more integrated and useful data systems. The second major building block is the next item discussed.

Federal-State-Local Cooperative Statistical Programs

Another major element in developing an integrated statistical system is the strengthening of existing Federal-State-local relationships in collecting statistical information. As discussed in the chapter on Federal-State-Local Cooperative Systems, there is a growing demand for more local area information. There is also a growing recognition that the collection of statistical information is a joint responsibility of State and local agencies in conjunction with the Federal Government.

This task is less within the full control of the Federal Government than other organizational proposals in this section. Nevertheless, the Federal Government can improve procedures used by the various agencies, establish a clear concept of priorities for State and local information, and work to create mechanisms for better coordination of Federal, State and local statistical programs.

Once again, regardless of the exact configuration of the Federal Statistical System, it will continue to rely in the foreseeable future on good relationships with the States and local jurisdictions. This brings a requirement for development of standards, consistent funding strategies, and Federal-State-local coordination units, as discussed in the chapter on Federal-State-local Cooperative Statistical Systems.

Standard Statistical Establishment List

In conjunction with the establishment of statistical enclaves, it is important to utilize a common

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External and Internal Advisory Groups for Statistical Programs

The Federal Statistical System serves many needs. The initial orientation of most statistical programs is the programmatic needs of the individual sponsoring agencies. At the same time, however, there is general recognition of the broader use of statistics. In order to assure that statistical programs are of maximum benefit to various users, it is essential to have external advisory groups who have a standing relationship to ongoing statistical programs. A continuing relationship is essential so that the external advisers can appreciate the various issues which are involved in setting policy relating to statistical programs and in making recommendations for collections, tabulations and analyses which will be of broad use.

Keys to the Future The development of a better integrated statistical system requires careful attention to those areas in which many agencies are involved. As noted in the earlier chapters on subject matter areas, most existing statistical programs are directed specifically to the requirements of the funding programs administered by the various agencies. Many of these programs are special purpose in character and, while the statistics they generate may be of occasional interest to others, the statistical activities typically do not require major interaction with other statistical programs or concepts. However, some of the most important statistical programs in the Government are related to the interests of several agencies. A better integrated system must focus attention on those important areas. This section outlines several concepts which are critical to achieving a better integrated statistical system. They are: 1. Improving the national economic accounting


While there are some ad hoc problems which can be addressed by advisory groups in a short period of time, broader, more effective input occurs when the advisers have sufficient time to adequately understand and reflect on the statistical agency's overall program. The continuous relationship enables the advisory group to bring new insights regarding underlying concepts, potential uses, and new approaches with respect to the agency's work.

2. Development of nested social surveys.

3. Extension of statistical standards.

4. Professional staff development. 5. Improving data access.

Each of these topics has been described in detail in earlier chapters; however, it will be useful in this concluding chapter to highlight the integrating functions of these areas.

Parallel with the need for continuing external advisory groups is the need for interagency committees to assure that the needs of various agencies are considered in designing individual statistical programs. This is closely allied with the planning and coordination function which was addressed earlier. Although the use of interagency committees can also be initiated by the statistical agencies themselves, care should be taken to ensure that such committees are established for important programs which cut across agency lines.

Improving the National Economic Accounting Framework

Federal statistics are broadly divided into two areas, economic statistics and social statistics. This distinction, however, is not a clear one. For example, the unemployment rate is typically considered to be major economic indicator, yet it is also an important indicator of social conditions.

Organization Summary

This section has highlighted several portions of the Framework which present concepts that are critical to the development of a more integrated Federal Statistical System. Other areas, such as professional staff development, development of multipurpose survey vehicles, development and implementation of standards for statistical methodology, development of social indicators, etc., also will make importan contributions to improving the integration of Federal statistical programs. However, the areas identified above are underscored because of their clear importance to organizational design and to the achievement of more relevant, better integrated

Within the economic statistics area, the national income and product accounting framework is of critical importance. Nearly all analyses of economic growth, employment and inflation utilize the national economic accounts as the framework for assessing current and past economic performance and projecting future trends based on alternative assumptions of fiscal, monetary and wage-price policies. The Gross National Product (GNP) Data Improvement Project, which extended from 1973 to 1977, (with editing and final publication extending through 1978,) has resulted in a comprehensive view of the data base requirements for improved national


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