Evidence Advisory Committee Recommends Establishment of a National Data Service

The Advisory Committee on Data for Evidence Building (ACDEB) released its first report on October 29. The Committee was created by the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act (“Evidence Act,” see previous coverage) and given two years to make recommendations for promoting evidence-building in the federal government, including evaluating the need for and value of a potential National Secure Data Service (NSDS) to facilitate linking data from across the federal government.

The ACDEB report affirms the need for the establishment of a NSDS and outlines a broad vision for such a service as a “quasi- or non-governmental entity that is sponsored by a federal statistical agency with the following key attributes: (1) transparency and trust; (2) accessibility; (3) independence; (4) legal responsibilities to acquire, protect, and link data that support and enhance the value of data for evidence building ; (5) scalable functionality; (6) sustainability; (7) oversight and accountability; and (8) intergovernmental support.” The report acknowledges that dedicated resources will be needed to support such an endeavor, including potentially passing legislation to establish it. The ACDEB Report also makes seven near-term recommendations as next steps toward establishing a data service:

  1. Promulgate draft guidance and regulations required under the Evidence Act.
  2. Appoint a Chief Statistician of the United States and elevate this position within the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB).
  3. Establish clear procedures for public and stakeholder engagement on data standards for intergovernmental, interagency, or intra-agency data sets.
  4. Request increased funding to support implementation of the Federal Data Strategy and Evidence Act in the fiscal year (FY) 2023 budget request.
  5. Establish a pilot program that demonstrates the value of streamlining data sharing and increasing coordination.
  6. Publish case studies of uses of privacy-preserving technologies.
  7. Develop a comprehensive communication and education strategy on evidence-building priorities.

The Committee was given two years to meet its charge, and the report notes that ACDEB will devote its second and final year to developing recommendations for operationalizing the NSDS. COSSA will continue to report on the work of the Committee as it moves forward.


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