The Field Directorate of the Bureau of the Census

July 2002 - The Field Directorate is the Census Bureau’s principal operating arm, responsible for the collection and dissemination of data for decennial censuses and for a wide variety of surveys conducted during decennial and intercensal years.

To review and improve operations, the Field Directorate periodically conducts a self-assessment of its activities. The Field Directorate asked the Academy to assist its internal self-assessment efforts by independently reviewing three broad areas:

  • the mission and organization of the Field Directorate
  • the adequacy of management systems and business practices in establishing accountability and helping fulfill Field Directorate missions
  • the effectiveness and efficiency of the Field Directorate’s operations and performance, including use of feedback and performance measures

Key Recommendations

  1. Issue a policy statement clarifying that the regions have a role in such areas as community relationships—the partnership function—and data dissemination.
  2. Develop a formal review process to obtain regional office input and feedback on operational costs and workload assumptions early on, when the Field Division and the program divisions begin to develop survey budgets.
  3. Lead the effort to develop a Directorate strategic planning process that produces operational action plans, with a feedback loop containing performance measures that relates activities to goals.
  4. The Field Directorate should consolidate administrative services in headquarters, under an Administration Office that reports directly to the Associate Director for Field Operations.