Venue: Department of the Taoiseach
Date: February 16 2009, 11:00-14:00
Mr. Brendan Walsh chaired the meeting. The following members also attended: Ms. Mary Doyle, Mr. Con Lucey, Mr. Danny McCoy, Mr. Paul Sweeney, Mr. Gerry O’Hanlon
CSO Assistant Director General Mr. Bill Keating also attended. Mr. Gerry Brady acted as Secretary. Apologies were received from Mr. Michael McGrath and Ms. Pat O’Hara.
These were approved without amendment.
Plans for undertaking the 2009 Census of Population pilot survey are well advanced. A public tender for the 2011 Census processing system will be published shortly.
The CSO has been requested to make estimates of the extent of cross-border shopping. Questions will be included in the second quarter QNHS survey to gather more information on this topic.
The Department of Education (in conjunction with the Department of Enterprise and Employment) gave an initial commitment for Ireland’s participation in the next round of the Programme for International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC), which is co-ordinated by the OECD. It is envisaged that CSO will conduct the survey work with funding provided through the two Departments. Confirmation of funding has yet to be received.
The CSO met with the Chairman and other senior staff from the Revenue Commissioners recently to discuss and sign-off on the Revenue SPAR report. The report will be made available on the CSO website. A formal liaison group will be established to oversee the implementation of the recommendations in the report and a Memorandum of Understanding will be drawn-up to provide a framework for future collaboration.
No further progress has been made by the inter-Department group examining the possible introduction of a unique business identifier. The CSO has concerns that a failure to recognise the strategic and competitiveness benefits of a single identifier and an associated business register may hamper progress. The group is chaired by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Development.
The CSO release Foreign Nationals: PPSN Allocations and Employment, 2007 was published in January 2009. The release provides indications on the labour market retention patterns of migrant workers. The report was compiled by linking/integrating data from three distinct sources:
The Central Records System of the Department of Social and Family AffairsThe P35 files (employer end-of-year returns) of the Revenue CommissionersThe Central Business Register of the Central Statistics Office
Efforts to streamline business statistics activity continue. The last individual Census of Building & Construction, Annual Services Inquiry and Census of Industrial Production were published in 2008 (reference year 2006). The 2007 results will be published together in a single volume. Individual datasets will be posted on the web. Overall this will significantly improve timeliness.
A High Level Group on Consumer Price Indices will commence in April 2009. It is anticipated that this group will meet a number of times during 2009, with a report prepared for the Director-General by end 2009. The statistical methodology used to compile the HICP will be audited by Eurostat during March. An EU-wide study is examining how to measure the cost of owner occupied housing.
A wide-ranging paper on Environmental statistics was presented to the meeting. The paper included a review of the position on energy and transport statistics. It is planned to continue with a programme on environment statistics that prioritises:
Closer co-operation between CSO and Sustainable Energy Ireland resulting in the new energy use survey being jointly conducted with SEI under the terms of the Statistics Act with potential follow up in related analyses such as emissions to air;
Compilation and publication of Material Flow Accounts (a first set of material flow accounts has been circulated to a small group of users);
Assistance to EPA with regard to waste statistics (possibly integrating questions on waste into the proposed energy survey); and
Investigation of sources for water statistics.
It was agreed that the CSO paper should be made available to the Inter-Department Technical Group on Climate Change. There may be a need to undertake a SPAR type analysis of the data situation for water statistics across the main Local Authorities. The Board requested the CSO to initiate consultations with the Department of the Environment on the possibility if undertaking a study of data availability and data needs in relation to Local Authority water statistics.
The updated draft was welcomed. Most of the discussion focused on the need to extend the European Statistics Code of Practice (ESCP) to other producers of official statistics in Ireland. This would require Government Departments to adopt the ESCP principles.
Additional text should be added to the current draft to reflect changes in statistical data needs during the current economic situation. For example, the timeliness and trends in basic short-term indicators such as employment, unemployment and retail sales are of increased importance. Elements of the progress made during the 2003-2008 strategy should be mentioned in chapter 3 also (currently in chapter 1), e.g. development of statistical network and administrative data potential reviews.
It was agreed that a final draft should be presented to the next Board meeting with a planned publication date in May. Board members should send comments on the current draft to the Secretary.
The sixtieth anniversary of the CSO will be marked by a half-day seminar on 3rd June.
The next meeting will be on April 20th in the Department of the Taoiseach at 11:00.
 Professor emeritus Economics Department, UCD.