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Number: DAO 216-9
Effective Date: 1972-09-29


This order sets forth requirements and procedures for organizations of the Department to observe in using the services of the Bureau of the Census, Social and Economics Statistics Administration (SESA), for statistical surveys.


.01 In accord with the assigned mission of SESA's Bureau of the Census to serve as a statistical data collection and processing center for the Department, organizations of the Department, with the exceptions provided in paragraphs .03 and .04 below, shall utilize the services of the Bureau of the Census, on a cost reimbursable basis, to conduct or arrange for the conduct of statistical surveys they require.

.02 For purposes of this policy, statistical surveys are defined as the process of gathering identical items of information from ten or more respondents for statistical purposes.

.03 As set forth in their respective Department Organization Orders, the National Marine Fisheries Service of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the Bureau of Economic Analysis of the Social and Economic Statistics Administration are authorized to perform certain specified statistical survey functions. These authorizations are in recognition of the special relationships of the statistical surveys involved to the expertise and primary functions of the organizations involved.

.04 The Director of the Census, or his designee, may authorize organizations of the Department, other than as provided in paragraph .03 above, to conduct or to arrange for the conduct of particular surveys by other than the bureau of the Census when he determines that such would be advantageous because of the special nature or circumstances or requirements of the survey.


.01 Except for circumstances dealt with in paragraph .04 below, when an organization of the Department requires a statistical survey, the head or his designee shall send a memorandum to the Director of the Census requesting survey services. The memorandum should include the following:

- the population of respondents to be covered in the survey;

- a description of the information desired;

- the approximate degree of reliability needed and the funds available for the survey;

- the uses to which the survey data will be put;

- the approximate date that the survey results are needed or desired; and

- the fund or funds to be charged for the cost of the survey.

Prior to sending the above memorandum, organizations are encouraged to discuss particular survey needs directly with Census' Statistical Research Division to obtain such information as may be helpful in specifying in the memorandum the nature and extent of the survey work required.

.02 Upon receiving the memorandum requesting survey services, Census shall develop a tentative survey plan, schedule, and cost estimate. It will consult with the requesting organization as advisable in developing the project and towards reaching agreement concerning it. Following completion of the project plan, if it is determined that the Bureau of the Census can undertake the work, Census shall execute a reimbursable agreement with the requesting organization.

.03 If the Bureau of the Census is unable to undertake the work so as to complete it within the time the date clearly needs to be available, or if it otherwise determines that it should not undertake the work, the Director of the Census or his designee shall either authorize the requesting organization to conduct the work itself or arrange, in consultation with the requesting organization, for performance of the work by contract or other agreement. In the latter case, the Bureau of the Census may elect to provide technical assistance to the Procurement Division, Departmental Office of Administrative Services, in procuring and administering the contract services or may authorize the requesting organization to provide such assistance. The Bureau of the Census will be reimbursed by the requesting organization for performing such technical services.

.04 If an organization of the Department desires to obtain contract services for work that includes conducting a statistical survey as an integral feature of the contract services, or if it believes it should directly conduct a statistical survey in lieu of having the work performed by the Bureau of the Census, the head of the organization or his designee shall sent a memorandum to the Director of the Census explaining the nature of the statistical survey required and reasons why the organization wishes to include the work in a broader contract or directly perform the work itself. This memorandum shall be sent prior to initiating the contract services or before making any firm arrangements to conduct the survey. The Director of the Census may at his discretion either authorize the organization to contract for or undertake the statistical survey as proposed, or arrange for accomplishing the survey work under the applicable procedures covered in paragraphs .02 and .03 above.


The time required by the Bureau of the Census to initiate, carry out and complete a special survey for an organization of the Department, or course, will vary with the scope and extent of the requirements. If the required time period is determined to be inadequate to meet the program needs of the organization and, it the circumstances of a particular survey need are such that the survey clearly could not have been requested at an early enough date, the Director of the Census may (1) elect to have the Bureau of the Census undertake the work on a priority basis, or (2) arrange with the requesting organization for getting the work accomplished by contract if feasible within the time required, or (3) recommend that the survey should be deferred.


When the Bureau of the Census conducts a survey for an organization of the Department, data on individual respondents requested for statistical purposes by that organization shall be made available, subject to such restrictions as are required to protect the confidentiality of information supplied by respondents or obtained from other sources. Depending on the nature of the survey, confidentiality requirements may arise under the provisions of Title 13, U.S. Code, or other laws or arrangements, or from statements made to respondents in the interest of obtaining their cooperation in the survey. Prior to beginning a survey, the Bureau and the sponsoring organization shall reach an understanding as to what information or individual respondents can be released to the sponsor.

Signed by: Secretary of Commerce

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October 14, 2016