Author: Amanda Hejna, Data Foundation Fellow, and Senior Associate with Grant Thornton Public Sector
The Advisory Committee on Data for Evidence Building (ACDEB) was formed over a year ago to provide recommendations to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) on how agencies can better use data to build evidence and improve decision making across the federal government and beyond. Composed of data experts from all levels of government and the public sector, the Committee was charged with forming a foundational understanding of the current state of and future needs for the use of data for evidence building and in doing so fulfill the spirit and vision of the Evidence Act.
Throughout the first year, the Committee focused particularly on developing a vision and framework for National Secure Data Service that would connect data users at all levels of government and the public and establish a unified evidence-building system across the federal government. At the culmination of Year 1, the Committee presented seven high-priority recommendations to the Director of OMB. These actionable and timely items will contribute directly to ongoing implementation of the Evidence Act and the establishment of a successful National Secure Data Service:
- Evidence Act Regulations: Provide additional guidance and regulations under the Evidence Act related to the operations and responsibilities of statistical agencies and implementation of the OPEN Government Data Act.
- Chief Statistician of the United States: Designate a full-time Chief Statistician of the United States within OMB.
- Standard-Setting Procedures: Establish clear procedures for stakeholder engagement on future data standards for data sets government-wide. The importance of data standardization is a multi-faceted topic that includes considerations such as data quality, data definitions, legal frameworks, and reporting requirements, among others.
- Appropriations Requests: Increase funding requests to support implementation of the Evidence Act and the Federal Data Strategy in the President’s Budget request to Congress in fiscal year 2023.
- Value-Driven Pilot Program: Establish a pilot program including projects from federal agencies, states, and localities, to demonstrate the value of increased coordination and data sharing across government.
- Privacy-Preserving Technologies Case Studies: Publish case studies where federal, state, and local governments used privacy-preserving technologies to encourage future, widespread use of these methodologies. This recommendation falls under the purview of the U.S. Chief Statistician in collaboration with the Interagency Council on Statistical Policy.
- Communication: Develop a communication and education strategy to facilitate the success of a National Secure Data Service. This strategy should be developed by the U.S. Chief Statistician and should consider a wide range of stakeholders including the public, data providers, researchers, and policymakers at all levels of government.
A number of subcommittees drilled down into specific focus areas and presented additional recommendations to the broader ACDEB. Focus areas included Legislation and Regulations; Governance, Transparency, and Accountability; Technical Infrastructure; Government Data for Evidence Building; and Other Services and Capacity-Building Opportunities. These preliminary recommendations will be integrated into the Committee’s Year 2 agenda as it looks to define the steps needed to fully operationalize the National Secure Data Service. In the next year, the Committee will continue to expand on its success to advance the use of data for evidence building and ultimately produce better results for the American people.