statistical agencies run educational programs for government statisticians in developing countries. Some statistical agencies have long-term cooperative relationships with international groups: examples include the Bureau of Labor Statistics with the International Labor Organization, the National Agricultural Statistics Service with the Food and Agriculture Organization, the National Center for Education Statistics with the International Indicators of Education Systems project of the OECD, and the National Center for Health Statistics with the World Health Organization.
To be of most value, the efforts of statistical agencies to collaborate as partners with one another need to involve the full range of their activities, including definitions, concepts, measurement methods, analytical tools, dissemination modes, and disclosure limitation techniques. Such efforts should also extend to policies and professional practices, so that agencies can respond effectively and with a coordinated voice to such government-wide initiatives as data quality guidelines, privacy impact assessments, institutional review board requirements, and others.
Collaboration efforts should also encompass the development of data, especially for emerging policy issues (see, e.g., National Research Council, 1999a, 2007b). In some cases, it may be not only more efficient, but also productive of needed new data for agencies to fully integrate the designs of existing data systems, such as when one survey provides the sampling frame for a related survey. In other instances, collaborative efforts may identify ways for agencies to improve their individual data systems so that they are more useful for a wide range of purposes.
Collaboration on ways and means of using alternative data sources, such as administrative records, should be pursued so that the entire statistical system can move forward to improve the relevance, accuracy, timeliness, and cost-effectiveness of their data programs. Toward this goal, in 2008 the FCSM established a Subcommittee on Administrative Records, which is working to develop standards and provide guidance to statistical agencies that will facilitate not only use of administrative records, but also evaluation of their quality and fitness to be part of an agency’s data collection, estimation, and evaluation programs. This subcommittee has released two products from its work: one is a compilation of case studies of successful statistical uses of administrative data (Federal Committee on Statistical Methodology, 2009); the other is a checklist tool for assessing the quality of administrative data (Federal Committee on Statistical Methodology, 2013).
Two continuing collaborative efforts for providing statistical information to the public in a broad area of interest are the Federal Interagency