To achieve a high-caliber staff, a statistical agency must recruit and retain qualified statisticians, analysts in fields relevant to its mission, methodologists who specialize in data collection and analysis, and other staff with skills that are needed for its efficient and effective operation. An agency’s personnel policies should encourage staff to maintain and extend their technical capabilities through appropriate professional and developmental activities, such as attendance at professional meetings, participation in relevant training programs, and rotation of assignments. An agency should also seek opportunities to reinforce the commitment of its staff to ethical standards of practice.

Practice 11: Coordination and Cooperation with Other Statistical Agencies

A statistical agency must 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 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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