collection programs and their components should consider, among other topics, how to produce the highest quality data possible given the available resources. Regular formal reviews of an agency’s portfolio should consider how to produce the most relevant information possible for policy makers and the public. Such evaluations should include internal reviews by staff and external reviews by independent bodies.

Practice 11:
Coordination and Cooperation with Other Statistical Agencies

A statistical agency should seek opportunities to cooperate with other statistical agencies to enhance the value of its own information and that of other agencies in the federal statistical system. Although agencies differ in their subject-matter focus, there is overlap in their missions and a common interest in serving the public need for credible, high-quality statistics gathered as efficiently and fairly as possible.

When possible and appropriate, federal statistical agencies should cooperate not only with each other, but also with state and local statistical agencies in the provision of data for subnational areas. Federal statistical agencies should also cooperate with foreign and international statistical agencies to exchange information on both data and methods and to develop appropriate common classifications and procedures to promote international comparability of information.

Such cooperative activities as integrating data compiled by different statistical agencies invariably require effort to overcome differences in agency missions and operations. But the rewards are data more relevant to policy concerns and a stronger statistical system as a whole. For these reasons, statistical agencies must act as partners to one another, not only in the development of data, but also for the entire panoply of statistical activities, including definitions, concepts, measurement methods, analytical tools, professional practice, dissemination modes, means to protect the confidentiality of responses, and ways to advance the effective use of statistical information.

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