Venue: Department of the Taoiseach (Room 301), D02 R583
Date: Wednesday October 4, 2017 at 10.00am
Item 7: Any other business
Venue: Department of the Taoiseach
Date: Wednesday 4 October 2017
The following members attended:
Dr. Patricia O’Hara (Chairperson), Mr. John McCarthy, Mr. John Shaw, Dr. Eimear Cotter, Mr. Gerard O’Neill, Mr. John Martin, Mr. Gerard Brady and Mr. Pádraig Dalton.
Ms. Jennifer Banim, Ms. Maria Hurley (CSO Senior Management)
Ms. Claire Hanley (Secretary)
The minutes of the previous meeting were agreed with one amendment.
The Board discussed progress on recommended actions from the NSB Strategy, specifically in relation to the following:
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.
Globalisation and the Economic Statistics Review Group
The first publication of the GNI* time series, a key output recommended by the Economic Statistics
Review Group (ESRG), was included with the annual national accounts statistics released in July 2017.
The Board discussed the need for further commentary on GNI* to communicate with the international community of users.
The Board were updated on the deferral, in June 2017, of the Recorded Crime Release for Q1 2017 as a result of concerns in relation to data quality in the recording of homicide statistics. CSO initiated a review on foot of An Garda Síochána’s inquiry into homicide statistics. The timeline for the completion of the review by An Garda Síochána has not been finalised but it is expected that the review will take at least a number of months.
The Board discussed the difficulties facing the CSO in relation to the review and publication of these statistics and suggested possible approaches to be considered by the Office.
Household Survey Development (HSD) Project
The Board were apprised of the HSD project which is entering its final phase and will culminate with the publication of Q3 2017 data from the new Labour Force Survey (LFS) in January 2018. The final publication from the Quarterly National Household Survey (QNHS) was released on September 22nd. Given the scale of the changes to the Labour Force Survey, it is inevitable that there will be breaks in the labour market time series as CSO moves from one survey to the other. The HSD project team will meet with users again prior to the publication in January to provide more details and to respond to any concerns that users might have.
The Board discussed the challenges faced by the CSO in communicating this new output and provided recommendations in this regard. A particular reference was made to the added-value that can and should be exploited, once the survey has reached a stable state, from the publication of a broader range of labour market indicators on a monthly basis.
The Board were informed of discussions on the draft FRIBS Regulation now beginning in the EU Council and Parliament. The CSO welcomes the consolidation of several existing legal acts into this new regulation and how it responds to future needs in business statistics. However, the Office believes that the mandatory exchange of identifiable confidential trade data raises serious issues as regards trust in statistical institutions, quality of statistical outputs, respondent burden and cost of statistical production.
The Board discussed the concerns raised by the CSO in relation to the exchange of identifiable confidential trade microdata.
Public Sector ICT Strategy
The Board were updated on the current state of play of the Public Sector ICT Strategy and noted that the Data as an Enabler group chaired by the CSO CIO is in the process of reviewing options to create a National Data Architecture that will create a consistent mechanism for secure data sharing, subject to compliance with all relevant legislation, while leaving data holdings under the control of originating Departments.
The NSB Chair will participate as a panellist in the upcoming Analytics Institute conference in November 2017.
The Data Sharing and Governance Bill
The Board were apprised of the current state of development of the Data Sharing and Governance Bill. A Memorandum to Government is expected to be circulated shortly requesting approval for the introduction of new heads to reflect changes in the landscape since the General Scheme was approved in 2015.
The Board noted the following:
The Board noted the following in relation to CSO resources:
Shauna Callagy of Coyne Research presented the key findings of the User and Non-user surveys which were carried out in 2017. These results were much welcomed by the Board as user engagement is one of the recommended actions of the NSB Strategy. The discussion covered a number of aspects of the research including:
The Board also noted the re-branding initiative underway in the CSO. The re-branding exercise is part of the CSO’s Communication and Dissemination Strategy. Central to the re-branding work is the development of the underlying message or sense of the organisation that the re-branding initiative is designed to convey to users.
The compilation of Official Statistics that are compiled independent of Government and in accordance with the highest professional standards are a given. In a broader sense however the brand is being developed to project the image of an Office that is Trusted, Authoritative, Dynamic and Modernising. It is anticipated that the re-branding work and the launch of the new CSO logo will be completed by end December 2017 or early January 2018.
The Board were updated on the proposal under development at CSO to use anonymised mobile phone data for Tourism Statistics and noted that the CSO has not sought or analysed any mobile phone data to date. Before doing so, several technical, legal and statistical points will need to be addressed including further liaising with the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner.
The Board discussed the benefits of using Big Data sources to address gaps in traditional data collection methods while ensuring citizen’s privacy concerns are respected. Alternative approaches to the proposal for Tourism Statistics were discussed and it was generally agreed that the issue is wider than the tourism sector.
The Malta Statistical Authority has requested a meeting with the NSB and this is due to take place early 2018 in Dublin.
The next meeting of the Board will take place on December 6, 2017 at the CSO office in Cork.
 The ESRG was convened by the CSO in September 2016 to examine how to better meet user needs for insight into Irish domestic economic activity and reported to the Director General of the CSO in December 2016. The CSO are working to implement the 13 recommendations of the Group during 2017 and 2018.