What is the FCSM?
The Federal Committee on Statistical Methodology (FCSM) is an interagency committee dedicated to
improving the quality of Federal statistics. The first meeting of the FCSM was held in the summer of 1975.
The letter of invitation from Maria E. Gonzalez, founder of the FCSM, said that "The FCSM will focus on
recommending standards for statistical methodology to be followed by Federal statistical agencies. The
Committee shall investigate problems which affect the quality of Federal Statistical data, as well as make
suggestions for improving statistical methodology in Federal agencies." The Office of Management and Budget
invites individual statisticians, economists or managers working in the Executive Branch to participate as members of
the FCSM based on their particular experience.
The 1992 charter of the FCSM, originally based on the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1980, and consistent with
the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, defines the major goals of the FCSM as:
- Communicating and disseminating information on statistical practice among all Federal statistical agencies.
- Recommending the introduction of new methodologies in Federal statistical programs to improve data quality.
- Providing a mechanism for statisticians in different Federal agencies to meet and exchange ideas.
In the twenty-seven years from 1975 to 2002, more than sixty-five individuals from various Federal agencies have served
as members of the FCSM. At any one time, the FCSM has about twenty members. This network of Federal agency personnel has
focused primarily on data quality. Thirty-four Statistical Policy Working Papers have
been prepared by subcommittees and published by OMB. They are available through this website, and are also available
through the National Technical Information Service (NTIS) at 703.487.4650. All of the early working papers were prepared by
subcommittees of the FCSM. Subcommittees are chaired by FCSM members, and consist of other government employees, appointed by
individual statistical agencies. More recently some of the working papers are conference proceedings.