Evidence-Based Policymaking Act oversight committee publishes first report

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An oversight committee established by the Evidence-Based Policymaking Act of 2018 has issued seven new recommendations for improving federal agencies’ use of data.

The proposals were published as part of an initial report that the Advisory Committee on Data for Evidence Building has submitted to the Office of Management and Budget on how to promote the use of federal data for evidence-building.

Among the core proposals published by the committee are the launch of a pilot program to show the value of data for agency policymaking and the launch of a comprehensive interagency strategy for communication about the collection of data.

Other recommendations include the suggestion that case studies be conducted into the way in which privacy-preserving technology is being deployed.

The committee is tasked with assessing the need for — and value of — a potential National Secure Data Service and assessing privacy risks associated with managing data.

Also according to the report, the suggestions would be overseen by the chief statistician of the United States, a role the government has sought to fill since the departure of Nancy Potok in January 2020.

As the leader of the Federal Statistical System, the chief statistician chairs several committees, facilitates discussions on governmentwide data standards and serves as the U.S. statistical representative in international forums like the U.N.

In addition, the report recommends that the chief statistician, with help from the Interagency Council on Statistical Policy, develops a comprehensive communication and education strategy to highlight the value of data access, linkage and analysis across government.

Earlier in July, a report by the Government Accountability Office suggested that agencies have a way to go to ensure all staff have the training and resources to collect and manage data effectively.

At the time, the report carried out by the oversight body found that only about 45% to 47% of federal managers believe staff within their agencies have the skills needed to collect, analyze and use different types of evidence.

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Evidence-based policymaking, Nancy Potok, National Secure Data Service, Office of Management and Budget (OMB)
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