Washington Statistical Society on Meetup

1995 Hansen Lecture

Ivan Fellegi, Chief Statistician of Canada
"Characteristics of an Effective Statistical System"
International Statistical Review, 64(2), pp. 163-197

Opening remarks: Margaret Martin, Consultant.

James Bonnen, Michigan State U.
Katherine Wallman, Chief Statistician, Office of Management and Budget
Janet Norwood, Urban Institute.

Abstract: The objective of national statistical systems is to provide relevant, comprehensive, accurate and objective (politically untainted) statistical information. The end purposes to be supported by the information are multiple, but include prominently the monitoring of the evolution of the country's economic and social conditions, the planning and evaluation of government and private sector programs and investments, policy debates and advocacy, and the creation and maintenance of an informed public.

The presentation will discuss ten broad criteria for the assessment of national statistical systems. They are: 1) The broad framework, including the legal one as well as the rank and standing of a Chief Statistician; 2) Professional core values; 3) Non-political objectivity and the means used to assure this; 4) Systems and approaches used to assess and meet federal priorities; 5) Systems and approaches used to assess and meet state (provincial) priorities; 6) Systems and approaches to assess and meet other users' priorities; 7) Mechanisms for the coordination of the statistical system; 8) Balancing priorities against available resources; 9) Serving the needs of different client groups; 10) Generating a supportive environment.