the operating units of departments and independent agencies or contracting for statistical services from existing federal statistical agencies or others.
Establishment of a federal statistical agency may be considered when one or more of the following conditions prevail:
There is a need for information extending beyond the narrow scope of individual operating units and possibly involving other departments and agencies. Such needs may require coordinating data from various sources, initiating new series to fill gaps, or developing broadly applicable models.
There is a need, in fact or as a matter of credibility, to establish the independence of major series from policy or operating control.
There is a need to establish confidentiality of reports by law or regulation covering a distinct organizational unit. When a separate statistics entity is established, statistical reports can be more easily identified and protected by law or regulation from administrative or regulatory use. The functional separation of statistical data, recommended by the Privacy Protection Study Commission (1977), is easier to maintain when the collection and compilation are conducted in a unit separate from operating units. At the same time, the expectation that confidentiality will be observed is likely to be enhanced.
There is a need to consolidate collection, compilation, analysis and dissemination of statistics in one unit to encourage high-quality performance, eliminate duplication, and streamline operations. There may be a need to develop a broad range of statistics to support a research and development effort in a major field of government activity or responsibility.