Venue: Department of the Taoiseach, Room 301, Government Buildings, D02 R583
Date: Wednesday September 11, 2019 at 10.00am
Presentation by CSO
Data Sharing & Governance Act 2019
NSB Strategy – Review of Progress on Recommended Actions
Update on CSO resources
The Changing Patterns of Production and Consumption of Official Statistics in Ireland 1989-2019 by Francis Ruane
Trade in Goods Statistics & Brexit – Frequently Asked Questions
National Statistics Board
Venue: Department of the Taoiseach, Government Buildings
Date: Wednesday 11 September 2019
Members present: Ms. Anne Vaughan (Chairperson), Mr Gerard O’Neill, Dr. Eimear Cotter, Mr. John Martin, Mr. John Shaw, Mr. John McCarthy and Mr. Pádraig Dalton.
Non-members in attendance: Mr. Paul Morrin (CSO Senior Management) and Ms. Claire Hanley (Secretary). Mr. Owen Harrison (OGCIO) attended for item 3 of the agenda.
Apologies: Mr. Gerard Brady
The minutes of the previous meeting were agreed.
Pádraig Dalton and Joe Treacy (CSO) presented the key issues raised at the recent ESGAB seminar and the significant environmental challenges in official statistics which have influenced the draft CSO Vision 2030 and CSO Statement of Strategy 2020-2023 – both of which were discussed in detail by the Board.
Items discussed by the Board in relation to the CSO Vision and Statement of Strategy draft documents included:
Owen Harrison (OGCIO) presented the key provisions of the Data Sharing and Governance Act, enacted in March 2019, which provides a legal basis for the sharing of data between Public Sector Bodies (PSBs) for purposes outlined in the Act. It also provides for a consistent approach to the way data is managed by PSBs.
The Board welcomed the enactment of the DSGA which was strongly advocated by the Board and noted that each PSB must have the power in its own right to collect and process the data it is requesting from another public body. Aspects of the Act were further discussed including the concept of Base Registries and the potential benefits to the citizen of a Personal Data Access Portal.
The Director General briefed the Board on a number of recent developments within CSO and at European level. Specific issues were selected for further discussion.
Civil Service Renewal (CSR) Action 24 update: Improving how data is collected, managed and shared
The Board were updated on several developments relating to Action 24 of the CSR.
The 2018 NDI Dashboard metrics were communicated to the CSMB in June 2019 and Pádraig Dalton has been asked to present at the September CSMB meeting to highlight the benefits of data sharing and linking to support evidence-based policy making.
In July 2019, the CSMB sponsors of CSR Action 24 issued an email to all Departments signifying what has to be done to improve the capturing of Eircodes on public sector key data holdings.
Ordnance Survey Ireland (OSi) released the Eircode API which is now available to PSBs to integrate into existing and new address capture ICT system applications. The API is suited to the capture and validation of Eircodes in real-time when interacting with the public and there is a high interest from PSBs to avail of this interface.
In addition, the Office of Government Procurement (OGP) Eircode Encoding Framework service was made available to PSBs in August 2019. This will enable PSBs to draw down, from a list of commercial organisations on the framework, a service of Eircode address matching and appending Eircodes to existing address databases.
With regard to ongoing pathfinder projects at CSO, the Board welcomed developments in this area and stressed the importance of accessing source data for key areas such as Health. The CSO requested feedback from the Board on pathfinder themes for consideration.
Environment and Climate Statistics
The Board were updated on the ongoing work in the area of Environment Statistics in CSO including the 2019 Environment Indicators Report; the 2018 Environment Taxes release; and the 2017 Fish Landings release. Additional resources will be required in this area as user demands increase.
The Board were informed of the publication of the National Income and Expenditure (NIE) 2018 results in July 2019 which included new detail on output, intermediate consumption and value added by sector. A technical note on re-domiciled companies / corporate inversions was published with the NIE to explain the impact of these relocated headquarters on the key economic aggregates.
In line with ESRG recommendations, a technical note on the methodology for compiling GNI* at constant prices was published and further updated to coincide with publication of NIE 2018. In addition, the second Productivity in Ireland publication was published in July which included results for 2017 and a chapter on ongoing research.
Engagement with NISRA on trade in goods with Northern Ireland continues and the Board were provided with an FAQ document on Trade in Goods Statistics and Brexit. The Board discussed some of the challenges facing Trade Statistics in the event of a no-deal Brexit and noted the risks in this context.
Census of Population
The Board were updated on developments at Statistics New Zealand and the recently published Report of the Independent Review of New Zealand’s 2018 Census.
The Board welcomed the approval for the content and date of the 2021 Census of Population questionnaire which was secured from government in July. It was noted that the 2021 Census will take place on Sunday April 18th, 2021.
Household Survey Data Collection
The Board discussed the difficulties in maintaining a high response rate to household surveys and welcomed the soon to be launched ‘Because you told us’ CSO campaign aimed at increasing the awareness of household surveys in Ireland.
Labour Force Survey
The Board welcomed the recent publication of a new thematic release on Agency Workers using data from the Labour Force Survey (LFS) and requested further information on future modules planned for the LFS. This item will be addressed at the next meeting of the Board.
Business User Canvass
The Board were informed of the completion of the canvass of business statistics users which was completed at the end of July, the results of which are currently being analysed. It is envisaged that a briefing on the canvass will be provided at a future meeting of the Board.
Pilot EQ Online Surveys
The Board were updated on the 2019 Community Innovation Survey (CIS) which is currently being collected using the EQ collection platform. Preparations to collect the Outward Foreign Affiliates (OFATS) survey via the EQ platform are at an advanced stage.
Cost of Insurance
The Board were informed of the ongoing work by CSO to collect pilot data on the cost of business insurance (retail and office sectors) using an automated collection methodology to obtain monthly comparable quotations data. The CSO will report on the feasibility of the method now being tested, and decide whether it can be scaled up, before the end of the year.
The Board were updated on the Eurostat funded linked open data project which is being developed by the CSO and three other countries and was successfully completed in June. The CSO has developed a pilot application to demonstrate linked data at a local (electoral division), regional, national and international levels of granularity.
In relation to other corporate matters the Board noted the following:
The next meeting of the Board will take place on November 20, 2019 at the CSO office in Cork.
A short discussion took place for non-CSO Board members.
Items for information:
 Mark Griffin (DCCAE), Orlaigh Quinn (DBEI), John McKeon (DEASP), Niall Cody (Revenue), Robert Watt (D/PER), Pádraig Dalton (CS0)