National Statistics Board
Venue: Department of An Taoiseach
Date: Tuesday, 11 December 2012
The following members attended: Dr. Pat O’Hara, (Chairperson), Professor Philip Lane, Mr. Fergal O’Brien, Mr. Ciaran Dolan, Mr. Michael McGrath, Mr. John Callinan and Mr. Pádraig Dalton.
Apologies were received from Mr. Paul Sweeney.
Mr. Aidan Punch and Mr. Steve MacFeely were also in attendance. Mr. Donal Kelly acted as Secretary.
Item 1: Minutes of October 23rd, 2012 (NSB 2012/6/2)
The minutes of the previous meeting were adopted without amendment.
Item 2: Director General’s progress report (NSB 2012/6/3)
The Director General briefed the Board on recent publications and developments within the CSO and highlighted:
The Board enquired as to whether it was possible to provide monthly estimates from the QNHS. The Director General described how CSO intends to reduce the QNHS publication timeline further in 2014 but pointed out that a monthly publication will only take place in the context of the household survey transformation project as it necessitates a revised methodology, and that this was unlikely to be in place before 2016.
The Board considered the implications of the discussions between CSO and the DPC for the future development of the National Data Infrastructure, in particular around the more widespread usage of PPSNs across public service datasets. The Board reaffirmed their view that this is an important systemic issue that needs to be seen in the broad context of more efficient public services. The Board agreed that a paper outlining various perspectives on this topic as well as the situation pertaining in other countries would be useful.
The Board made a number of suggestions to CSO on the development of its new strategy, in particular around engagement with policy-makers and other data users.
The Board offered congratulations to the CSO’s Census team for their comprehensive and timely programme of publications, and to the team who developed the Business in Ireland report which was well received by users.
Item 3: Note on Commission proposal to amend Regulation 223/2009 (NSB 2012/6/4)
The Director General provided the Board with an update on the proposed amendments to Regulation 223/2009, and the role that CSO will have to play in advancing this regulation during Ireland’s Presidency of the EU in the first six months of 2013.
There was a discussion of some of the more significant articles in the regulation which will widen the scope of the EU Code of Practice to all national producers of ‘European statistics’, give a system-wide coordination role to CSO in relation to EU statistics and require national government to adopt ‘Commitments on Confidence in Statistics’.
It was noted that there are a number of issues to be resolved at European level in regard to the implementation of the regulation that have delayed progress so far.
Item 4: ISS Code of Practice (working draft) (NSB 2012/6/5)
The Director General presented a working draft of the new Code of Practice and Standards for the Irish Statistical System. He highlighted the broad definition of ‘official statistics’ that is central to the document and the intention that the Code will evolve to be a practical guide for departments and public sector organisations.
The Board discussed a number of issues around the Code of Practice, including how best to secure public sector engagement with it, the role of the CSO in supporting its implementation across the system, the potential role of a National Statistics Advisory Board and the possible need to expand the Statistics Act to more fully encompass all public sector statistics.
Item 5: Mid-term review of Progress on NSB Strategy 2009-2014 (NSB 2012/6/6)
The Mid-term Review of the Board’s Strategy 2009-2014 was approved without further amendment.
Item 6: Any other business
Finally, the Board discussed a number of issues in connection with Ireland’s EU Presidency and the International Year of Statistics 2013, including the awarding of the first diplomas in Official Statistics and the possibility of the Board developing a paper on the importance of official statistics.
The Chairperson thanked the Board members for their contribution during 2012 and looked forward to seeing them all again in 2013.
The next meeting of the Board will held on Tuesday, February 14th 2012.