Venue: Department of the Taoiseach, Room 301, Government Buildings, D02 R583
Date: Thursday May 30, 2019 at 10.00am
Presentation by Cormac Halpin
Response from Padraig Dalton to NSB letter of April 12, 2019
National Statistics Board
Venue: Department of the Taoiseach, Government Buildings
Date: Thursday May 30, 2019
Members present: Ms. Anne Vaughan (Chairperson), Mr Gerard O’Neill, Mr. John Shaw, Mr. Gerard Brady and Mr. Pádraig Dalton.
Non-members in attendance: Mr. Paul Morrin (CSO Senior Management) and Ms. Claire Hanley (Secretary). Mr. Cormac Halpin and Mr. Diarmuid Reidy (CSO) attended for item 5 of the agenda.
Apologies: Dr. Eimear Cotter, Mr. John McCarthy, Mr. John Martin
Item 6: Response from Padraig Dalton to NSB letter of April 12, 2019
At the last Board meeting, it was agreed that it would be appropriate to ask for a response from the CSO in relation to issues raised in the documentation received by the Chairperson from an anonymous source, in so far as the matters related to issues within the remit of the NSB. The response, received from Padraig Dalton on April 18, 2019, was discussed (Mr. Dalton and Mr. Morrin were not present for this discussion.) The Board agreed that the response dealt comprehensively and factually with the issues raised and expressed their full confidence and trust in the quality of official statistics produced by the CSO.
Item 1: Minutes of NSB meeting April 10, 2019 (NSB 2019-3-2)
The minutes of the previous meeting were agreed.
Item 2: NSB Strategy – Review of Progress on Recommended Actions (NSB 2019-3-3)
The Board noted the status of the actions outlined in the NSB Strategy with further discussion on particular topics under the Director General’s report (item 3).
Item 3: Director General’s progress report (NSB 2019-3-4)
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 a number of developments relating to Action 24 of the CSR.
Recent communications on the NDI have been positively received by the Public Service Management Group, the Public Service Leadership Board, the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Business Enterprise & Innovation. The Board were informed of the expansion of the NDI Champions group which will see new members at the June meeting representing the Health, Education and Housing sectors.
The Board discussed the coverage of Eircodes on public sector data holdings which are closely monitored by the NDI Champions group and noted the initiatives currently underway aimed at enabling public sector bodies (PSBs) to increase the number of Eircode addresses within their databases. The OSi Eircode API launched in May 2019, is now available for use across all PSBs and non-commercial state agencies with the appropriate licence to assign an Eircode to new records. The OGP Eircode back-coding framework is scheduled to be available to PSBs by June 2019. This will facilitate retrospective coding of Eircodes which will not be facilitated using the OSi Eircode API.
The Board were updated on the recently enacted Data Sharing and Governance Act and agreed to include this as a future agenda item.
With regard to ongoing pathfinder projects at CSO, the previously mentioned work programme for the education sector is still under development in consultation with the recently established Education Liaison Group and a full update will be provided at the next meeting of the Board. The Board discussed a new pathfinder project on social housing currently underway as well as the difficulties in progressing similar projects in the health sector.
Environment and Climate Statistics
The Board were updated on the ongoing work of the Environment statistics area in CSO including the Research Paper on Fossil Fuel and Similar Subsidies 2012-2016 scheduled for publication in June 2019; and ongoing collaboration between the CSO, Department of Communications, Climate Action & Environment and SEAI on developing energy poverty indicators.
The Board were informed of the publication of the NIE 2018 results scheduled for end-June 2019 along with the Q1 2019 National and International Accounts and a note on redomiciled companies. The Board discussed aspects of the work of the Macro Economics Statistics Liaison Group including the new detail related to the Output Approach to national accounts compilation which will be incorporated in the NIE 2018 publication. The work in the Government Accounts area was also highlighted, including the publication of the System of Health Accounts due in June 2019.
A release on the victims of serious crime was published in April 2019 and data quality in respect of offenders is currently being assessed with a view to publication by the CSO.
The Board discussed the Regional Population Projections covering the period 2017-2036 which are due to be published in June 2019.
Business Register Development
The Board were updated on the work currently underway at CSO to re-develop the central statistical business register, the aim of which is to ensure that this register is used to support the production of the macroeconomic and business statistics across all relevant areas of the CSO.
Business “Blue Skies” and User Canvass
The Board were informed of the recent internal ‘Blue Skies’ day which will be followed by a canvass to ask national users of business statistics what new information they need. The Board will be included in this canvass.
The Board were updated on the pilot Electronic Questionnaire (EQ) online surveys within the CSO and discussed the upcoming audit by PWC against the European Statistical System Information Security Framework due to take place on 25-26 June.
The Board discussed the progress on the preparatory work for a new CSO Vision Statement of Strategy and will include this as an agenda item at the September Board meeting. In relation to other corporate matters the Board noted the following:
Item 4: Update on CSO resources (NSB 2019-3-5)
The Board were updated on CSO increased staff resources and recruitment activities – both live and upcoming competitions for 2019 – and discussed the continuing recruitment and retention issues throughout the Irish Statistical System.
Item 5: Census 2021 Content Update (NSB 2019-3-6)
Cormac Halpin and Diarmuid Reidy (CSO) presented the proposed Census 2021 content update. This follows the broad agreement of the Census Advisory Group on the questionnaire content which includes 8 new questions and revisions to 25 existing questions. The Board discussed the questionnaire updates which will be included in a Memo to Government currently being prepared by the CSO.
The Board discussed the upcoming ESGAB seminar on 'How to perform ESGAB-like functions at national level to ensure the implementation of the European statistics Code of practice?', which will be attended by Ms. Anne Vaughan (Chairperson) and Mr. Joe Treacy (CSO) in June 2019.
The next meeting of the Board will take place on September 11, 2019 at the Department of the Taoiseach, Government Buildings. The December 2019 Board meeting, which will take place at the CSO office in Cork, is to be rescheduled to a date in November 2019.