NATIONAL STATISTICS BOARD
Venue: Department of the Taoiseach, Room 301
Date: Thursday April 28, 2016 at 10.00am
Item 6: Any other business
National Statistics Board
Venue: Department of the Taoiseach
Date: Thursday 28 April, 2016
The following members attended:
Dr. Patricia O’Hara (Chairperson), Mr. John Callinan, Mr. John McCarthy, Dr. Helen Johnston and Mr. Pádraig Dalton.
Ms. Jennifer Banim and Mr. Richard McMahon (CSO Senior Management) were also in attendance.
Ms. Claire Hanley acted as Secretary.
Apologies: Mr. Gerard O’Neill, Mr. Tom Geraghty, Ms. Rowena Dwyer
The minutes of the previous meeting were agreed.
The Board discussed actions taken to progress the concept of a National Data Infrastructure across the public sector and the establishment of an Irish Government Statistical System:
The Board also discussed progress on the User Survey since the last meeting and noted that the role of the new Head of Division in Communication and Dissemination at CSO will include the management of this survey. The Board reiterated the importance of their involvement in the conduct of this survey.
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.
Government Finance Statistics
The transmission of Government Deficit and Debt results under the EDP programme was made to Eurostat at the end of March and the clarification process for the results was completed by April 15. The GFS 2015 annual results and the Quarter 4 2015 results were published nationally on April 20.
The Board discussed the impact on Government Debt, of the ruling by Eurostat to treat the conversion of AIB preference shares to ordinary shares as a capital transfer rather than a reinvestment of capital.
Meeting with Central Bank of Ireland
The Director General met the Governor of the Central Bank on March 24, 2016 to discuss areas of common interest, including the National Data Infrastructure.
The 2016 Census of Population took place on April 24, 2016 and the collection of the Census forms is already underway.
The Board congratulated the Census team and, in particular, the role Deirdre Cullen played in promoting the Census through the media.
Household Survey Development (HSD) Project
A significant milestone in the HSD project was achieved with the introduction of telephone interviewing (CATI) for the Q2 2016 Labour Force Survey (LFS).
The LFS will replace the Quarterly National Household Survey as the official source of Irish labour market statistics from Q1 2017. Throughout 2016 the LFS and QNHS will be conducted side-by-side to establish the validity of the data being produced by the new survey.
The Board congratulated the CSO on reaching this milestone and expressed the importance of consistency between the old and new series, in so far as possible.
Fifth CSO Seminar on Administrative Data
The CSO hosted a seminar on April 12, 2016 in Dublin Castle which showcased the potential of administrative data for statistical purposes. The seminar featured presentations on crime, labour market, income and demography statistics, accessibility of data and use of statistical and administrative data for policy simulation.
The Board discussed the success of the recent seminar and the challenge of widening the audience for future events.
Draft FRIBS Regulation
A special workshop of the ESSC, on May 18, will discuss the future approach to intra-EU trade statistics, which is by far the most critical part of the FRIBS package for Ireland. The CSO considers the proposal on the mandatory exchange of confidential trade microdata with subsequent voluntary usage to be a very difficult issue for a number of reasons including the ability to maintain the confidence of data providers and users of the data. There are still major question marks over the potential to achieve the level of burden reduction envisaged, a reconciliation between the mirror data has yet to be satisfactorily addressed and the dependence on the 27 other Member States to deliver data to agreed timelines introduces additional risk.
The Board discussed the concerns raised by the CSO in relation to the exchange of confidential trade microdata and the possible impact on the quality of key CSO outputs including many of our key economic indicators.
Residential Property Price Index
The Board discussed the delay in publishing the alternative RPPI caused by the recent peer review commissioned from an academic at the University of British Columbia, which has led to changes in the methodology of the index. The CSO anticipate that the publication will be delayed for a number of months.
Civil Service Employee Engagement Survey
Following the launch in January of the first ever Civil Service Employee Engagement Survey conducted by the CSO, individual reports for 46 Department/agencies were issued on April 14, 2016. The results from a CSO perspective were positive.
The Board discussed the positive results overall for the CSO and noted the areas for further improvement.
1916 project update
Life in 1916 Ireland – Stories from Statistics was launched on the March 2, 2016 and the reaction from the media and the general public has been very positive.
The Board congratulated the CSO team responsible for the 1916 publication and welcomed its distribution to all schools.
The Director General briefed the Board on the progress made on the implementation of the Peer Review improvement actions. Of the 49 actions - 5 have been fully completed; 9 are in progress; 6 are deemed as of a continuous nature; 16 have a future start date, but are being planned for; 13 are currently delayed largely due to timing issues related to the recruitment and filling of a number of key posts and reprioritisation.
The Board congratulated the CSO on winning the large enterprise category in the recent National Workplace Wellbeing awards.
The Board discussed possible themes for the NSB annual seminar/workshop planned for September 2016.
Dr Patricia O’Hara informed the Board of the upcoming Health Research Board seminar and invited comments on the report entitled Proposals for an Enabling Data Environment for Health and Related Research in Ireland.
The next meeting of the Board will take place on June 23, 2016 at the CSO office in Swords.