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Purpose: The purpose of this standard is to ensure that plans are developed when initiating a new or revised data program.
Scope: The Census Bureau’s statistical quality standards apply to all information products released by the Census Bureau and the activities that generate those products, including products released to the public, sponsors, joint partners, or other customers. All Census Bureau employees and Special Sworn Status individuals must comply with these standards; this includes contractors and other individuals that receive Census Bureau funding to develop and release Census Bureau information products.
In particular, this standard applies to planning data programs (e.g., surveys, censuses, and administrative records programs) that will release information products to the public, to sponsors, or to other customers.
The global exclusions to the standards are listed in the Preface. No additional exclusions apply to this standard.
Note: Specific planning requirements for each stage of the data program are addressed in other statistical quality standards. For example, Statistical Quality Standard E1, Analyzing Data, includes requirements for planning data analyses.
Key Terms: Administrative records, bridge study, business identifiable information, census, data collection, data program, information products, microdata, personally identifiable information, reimbursable project, response rate, sample design, sample survey, stakeholder, target population, and users.
Requirement A1-1: The provisions of federal laws (e.g., Title 13, Title 15, and Title 26) and Census Bureau policies and procedures on privacy and confidentiality (e.g., Data Stewardship Policies) must be followed in planning and designing any programs that will collect personally identifiable information or business identifiable information. (See Statistical Quality Standard S1, Protecting Confidentiality.)
Requirement A1-2: An overall program plan must be developed that includes the following:
Generally, the program cycle includes the following stages:
Note: Managers responsible for each stage of the program generally are expected to prepare milestone schedules for their stages. The overall program manager can use these individual schedules to prepare the overall milestone schedule.
Note: Managers responsible for each stage of the program generally are expected to prepare cost estimates for their stages. The overall program manager can use these estimates to prepare the overall cost estimate.
Examples of such deliverables include:
Sub-Requirement A1-2.1: When the sponsor of a reimbursable project requests the Census Bureau to carry out activities that do not comply with our Statistical Quality Standards or deliver products that do not conform with the standards, the program manager must:
Requirement A1-3: For sample survey and census programs, a preliminary survey design must be developed that describes the:
Requirement A1-4: For administrative records projects, a preliminary study design must be developed that describes the:
Note: See the Administrative Records Handbook for complete information on planning a project that uses administrative records.
Requirement A1-5: Any contract or statement of work originated by the Census Bureau for deliverables that will be used in information products released by the Census Bureau must include provisions that the contractor comply with the Census Bureau’s statistical quality standards.
Requirement A1-6: Quality control checks must be performed to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the program plans, including all schedules, cost estimates, agreements (e.g., memoranda of understanding, statements of work, and contracts), survey designs, and study designs.
Requirement A1-7: Documentation needed to replicate and evaluate the data program must be produced. The documentation must be retained, consistent with applicable policies and data-use agreements, and must be made available to Census Bureau employees who need it to carry out their work. (See Statistical Quality Standard S2, Managing Data and Documents.)
Examples of documentation include: