National Statistics Board
VENUE: Department of An Taoiseach
Date: Thursday, 14 February 2013
The following members attended: Dr. Pat O’Hara, (Chairperson), Mr. Fergal O’Brien, Mr. Ciaran Dolan, Mr. Michael McGrath, Mr. John Callinan and Mr. Pádraig Dalton.
Apologies were received from the following members: Professor Philip Lane and Mr. Paul Sweeney.
Mr. Aidan Punch, Dr. Steve MacFeely, Mr. Joe Treacy and Mr. Kieran Walsh were also in attendance. Mr. Donal Kelly acted as Secretary.
The Chairperson welcomed Mr. Kieran Walsh to the meeting and congratulated him on his recent appointment as Director of Business Statistics.
Item 1: Minutes of December 11th, 2013 (NSB 2013/1/2)
The minutes of the previous meeting were accepted without amendment.
Item 2: Director General’s progress report (NSB 2013/1/3)
The Director General briefed the Board on a number of recent developments within CSO.
The Board requested that the report from the GGD group be circulated. However, it was pointed out that this may not be possible but that an update on this issue could be provided for the next meeting.
There was some discussion about the implications of the new legislation concerning the imbalance procedure scorecard for official statistics. It was noted that no draft of the legislation has been circulated yet, and that there are concerns internationally that the regulation is somewhat heavy-handed and not fit for purpose.
The reasons for the delay in the SILC publication and the necessary revisions were discussed and CSO explained that the complex and changing nature of both the tax and welfare systems which affect income data require complex programming. The Board expressed concern about the ongoing risks to the SILC data and encouraged CSO to consider external reviews of processing systems to safeguard the timeliness and validity of future publications. The Board suggested that it would be useful to have a report on the progress being made to improve the SILC systems for a future meeting of the Board.
There was a discussion about the concerns that exist internationally around Regulation 223/2009, particularly the implication for the trust in the quality of official statistics, of imposing a set of standards that could be difficult to meet in practice.
Item 3: ESS statement on recent developments concerning the Greek Statistical Office (ELSAT) (NSB 2013/1/4 - ESS_STATEMENT_GREECE_2013-EN.PDF)
The Board noted the statement of the Members of the European Statistical System regarding the recent developments concerning the Greek Statistical Office (ELSTAT).
Item 4: Irish Statistical System Update
The Director General outlined some recent meetings held between CSO and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform to discuss the further development of a National Data Infrastructure and the more widespread use of PPSNs across public data holdings, as envisaged in the Public Sector Reform plan. Further work on drafting and implementing an ISS Code of Practice, and completing a legislative review of the wider environment for official statistics are now dependent on some structural developments across both the Irish and European systems.
The Board noted the progress being made and encouraged CSO to maintain momentum in this area. There was some discussion of a possible role for the Board in advancing the goal of a National Data Infrastructure.
The Board’s Mid-term Review of the implementation of its Strategy for Statistics has been circulated to Ministers, Secretary Generals and other senior officials.
The next meeting of the Board will be held on April 9th 2013.