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Office of Management and Budget Charter of the Federal Committee on Statistical Methodology


The Federal Committee on Statistical Methodology (FCSM) is an interagency committee dedicated to improving the quality of federal statistics. The FCSM was founded in 1975 by Maria E. Gonzalez of the Office of Statistical Policy in the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). OMB invited individual statisticians, economists or statistical program managers working in the Executive Branch to participate as members of the FCSM based on their particular experience and expertise. The initial focus of the FCSM was on recommending standards for statistical methodology to be followed by federal agencies, investigating problems that affect the quality of federal statistical data as well as making suggestions for improving statistical methodology in federal agencies. Since 1975, the FCSM has published a working paper series, sponsored seminars and research conferences on federal statistics, and created ongoing interest groups focused on specific statistical issues.

I. Mission of the FCSM

The mission of the FCSM is to:

  • Inform and advise OMB and the Interagency Council on Statistical Policy (ICSP) on methodological and statistical issues that affect the quality of federal data;
  • Compile, assess, and disseminate information on statistical or survey methods and practices for federal statistical programs;
  • Provide recommendations on issues of statistical methodology such as measurement, analysis, survey methods, survey errors, data collection methods and technologies, use of administrative and third party data, record linkage, disclosure limitation, data visualization and dissemination of information that affect federal statistical programs and improve data quality, including transparency, timeliness, accuracy, relevance, utility, accessibility, and cost effectiveness;
  • Provide a forum for statisticians in different federal agencies to discuss issues affecting federal statistical programs; and
  • Promote and support cooperative research across agencies on issues relevant to federal statistical activities.

II. FCSM Activities

The FCSM works to fulfill its mission by engaging in a variety of activities that the Chair(s) and members determine are appropriate.

  1. The FCSM shall meet as a whole at intervals and sites designated by the Chair(s).
  2. The FCSM may establish subcommittees to study particular issues, form temporary program committees, or sponsor ongoing interest groups focused on a particular statistical or methodological topic.
  3. The FCSM may create and disseminate reports, working papers, guidance, or recommendations through publication and through its website. The FCSM may also facilitate the dissemination of statistical and methodological research conducted or sponsored by federal agencies, federal interagency working groups, and other cross-agency bodies.
  4. The FCSM may sponsor seminars, workshops, conferences, or other events.
  5. The FCSM may arrange for projects to be jointly sponsored by the federal agencies and may participate in the administration of the projects.

III. Membership

The FCSM shall be composed of career federal employees selected by OMB based on their individual expertise and interest in statistical methods. The Chair(s) is appointed by the Chief Statistician. Note that a Co-Chair may be appointed at the discretion of the Chief Statistician. The Chair(s) serves three-year terms, with the option to be re-appointed. Members shall be appointed by the Chief Statistician, in consultation with the Chair(s), for three-year terms. Members may be re-appointed for successive three-year terms without limit, with staggered memberships. Aggregated over a three-year term, members are expected to spend approximately ten percent of their work time on FCSM activities, and appointments are contingent on agency management agreeing to this time commitment. During each three-year term, a member may serve in their personal capacity rather than as an agency representative, and shall remain as a member as long as they remain employed in an agency of the federal government covered by the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA).

The Statistical and Science Policy Branch in the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, OMB, serves as the Secretariat for the FCSM and may appoint a temporary member to take minutes of the FSCM meetings, and may appoint other temporary members to provide other support functions.

IV. Subcommittees and Interest Groups

The FCSM may create subcommittees, program committees, or interest groups, as necessary to study and/or to advise particular issues, organize workshops, seminars, or conferences, or provide an ongoing forum for particular statistical and methodological topics. The Chair(s) of the FCSM may, if circumstances require, initiate and dissolve subcommittees, program committees, and interest groups.

  • Subcommittees - Subcommittees are established to explore some particular aspect of statistical methodology and produce a specific product within a set period of time. Products may include reports, working papers, guidance, or recommendations. The Chair(s) of a subcommittee shall be a member of the FCSM appointed by the Chair(s) of the FCSM. Membership in a subcommittee may be solicited from staff within statistical agencies or programs by OMB or may consist entirely of FCSM members.
  • Program Committees - Program Committees are temporary and are established with the express purpose of organizing a particular workshop, conference, or seminar. The Chair(s) and members of a program committee are appointed by the Chair(s) of the FCSM and serve for the duration of the organizing effort.
  • Interest Groups - Interest Groups provide ongoing opportunity for individuals interested in a particular aspect of statistical methods or data quality to interact, exchange information on the topic, explore issues related to that topic, and produce products and services that are of interest to the group. The method of selecting the Chair(s) of an interest group shall be determined by the interest group; however, there must be regular contact with FCSM, either through an FCSM sponsor or a temporary FCSM membership for the Chair(s) of the interest group. Membership of interest groups is generally open to all interested career personnel who work for the federal government.

V. FCSM Products

The FCSM shall provide an annual report, and an annual work plan, to the Chief Statistician and to the members of the ICSP on the Committee's accomplishments and ongoing work. The FCSM and its Subcommittees, Program Committees, and Interest Groups may create and disseminate reports, working papers, guidance, recommendations, or other products. The FCSM may maintain a website and use it to disseminate information produced by the Committee and its subsidiaries. The FCSM and its components may sponsor and co-sponsor conferences, workshops or seminars. The FCSM may arrange and organize a collaborative research program for the federal agencies.

VI. Authority

The FCSM was founded by the Office of Statistical Policy (now the Statistical and Science Policy Branch in the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs) in OMB to assist in carrying out its role in setting and coordinating statistical policy. The FCSM serves as a resource for OMB to inform decision making on matters of statistical policy and to provide technical assistance and guidance on statistical and methodological issues affecting federal statistics.

The statistical policy roles of OMB were codified in the PRA of 1980 and were expanded upon in the 1995 reauthorization. Specifically, Section 3504 (e) includes:

With respect to statistical policy and coordination, the Director of OMB shall:

  1. coordinate the activities of the federal statistical system to ensure -
    1. the efficiency and effectiveness of the system; and
    2. the integrity, objectivity, impartiality, utility, and confidentiality of information collected for statistical purposes;
  2. develop and oversee the implementation of Government-wide policies, principles, standards, and guidelines concerning --
    1. statistical collection procedures and methods;
    2. statistical data classification;
    3. statistical information presentation and dissemination;
    4. timely release of statistical data; and
    5. such statistical data sources as may be required for the administration of federal programs

VII. Signatures of ICSP Members

ICSP Agency Name ICSP Agency Head Name
Office of Management and Budget Nancy Potok
Bureau of the Census Ron Jarmin
Bureau of Economic Analysis Brian Moyer
Bureau of Justice Statistics Jeri Mulrow
Bureau of Labor Statistics William Wiatrowski
Bureau of Transportation Statistics Patricia Hu
Economic Research Service Mary Bohman
Energy Information Administration John Conti
National Agricultural Statistics Service Hubert Hamer
National Center for Education Statistics Peggy Carr
National Center for Health Statistics Charles Rothwell
National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics,
National Science Foundation
John Gawalt
Office of Research, Evaluation, and Statistics, Social Security Administration John Phillips
Statistics of Income Division, Internal Revenue Service Barry Johnson
Statistics and Analytics Service, Office of Enterprise Integration, Department of Veterans Affairs Tom Garin

(Revised December 2017)