U.S. Department of Commerce

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Census.gov Information Quality Main Statistical Quality Standards › Releasing Information: Appendix F3

Appendix F3: Procedures for Correcting Information that Does Not Comply with the Census Bureauís Information Quality Guidelines


The following procedures must be followed when complaints alleging that the Census Bureau has not adhered to its information quality guidelines are received.

Note: These procedures do not apply to the seven programs listed in Requirement F3-2 of Statistical Quality Standard F3, Addressing Information Quality Guideline Complaints. Those programs follow their own correction procedures that are specific to their data products.

  1. The Census Bureau’s Quality Program Staff will notify the Department of Commerce within ten business days of receiving a complaint that alleges a violation of the information quality guidelines.
  2. The program manager must review:
    1. The information being challenged in consultation with the appropriate methodology staff.
    2. The processes that were used to create and disseminate the information.
    3. Whether the information conforms or does not conform to the Census Bureau’s Information Quality Guidelines.
  3. Based on the outcome of the above review, the Census Bureau will determine if a correction (or corrections) must be made.
  4. If the Census Bureau concurs with a complaint, the responsible program manager will, with the concurrence of the area Associate Director in consultation with the Methodology and Standards Council, determine the appropriate corrective action, taking into account such factors as:
    • The nature of the information involved.
    • The significance and magnitude of the error with respect to the use of the information.
    • The cost of implementing the correction.
    • The effectiveness of the correction in terms of timeliness.
  5. The Census Bureau will respond in writing to the affected person within 60 days of receiving the complaint.
    1. If the Census Bureau has completed its review, the response will explain the process that the Census Bureau followed in its review of the complaint, the findings of the review, and the resolution.
    2. If the Census Bureau has not completed its review, the response will notify the affected person that a review is underway, and provide an expected completion date.  When the review is complete, the Census Bureau must again contact the affected person in writing, and explain the process that the Census Bureau followed in its review of the complaint, the findings of the review, and the resolution.
    3. If a correction is warranted, the response will include a progress report, and a subsequent written response will be sent when the correction action is complete. 
    4. If a correction is not warranted, the Census Bureau will explain that a correction will not be made, and why.
  6. If the Census Bureau declines to correct the challenged data, and the affected party appeals, a panel appointed by the Methodology and Standards Council will manage the appeal process.
    1. The Census Bureau will respond to all requests for appeals within 60 days of receipt.
    2. If the appeal requires more than 60 days to resolve, the Census Bureau will inform the appellant that more time is required, indicate the reason why, and provide an estimated decision date.


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Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Methodology and Standards Council |  Last Revised: August 04, 2011