Venue: Department of the Taoiseach
Date: April 20 2009, 11:00-14:00
Dr. Pat O’Hara chaired the meeting. The following members also attended: Ms. Mary Doyle, Professor Philip Lane, Mr. Con Lucey, Mr. Danny McCoy, Mr. Paul Sweeney, Mr. Gerry O’Hanlon
CSO Assistant Directors General Mr. Bill Keating and Ms. Siobhan Carey also attended. Mr. Gerry Brady acted as Secretary. Apologies were received from Mr. Michael McGrath.
Since the last meeting of the Board in February, the Chairman Professor Brendan Walsh tendered his resignation for personal reasons. Subsequently, the Minister appointed Dr. Patricia O'Hara as Chairperson and Professor Philip Lane to the resultant vacancy. It was suggested that this information should have been communicated more formally to all Board members. Dr. O'Hara paid tribute to the contribution of Professor Walsh to the work of the Board.
These were approved without amendment.
The consultant's report on a pilot set of Health Accounts has recommended that the CSO is best placed to develop this set of accounts and compile them on a regular basis. However some staffing would be necessary since additional compilation work and new surveys would be required. The Supply and Use and Input-Output tables for 2005 were published in early March. This was close to the EU target of publication within three years of the reference year.
The next QNHS release in June will be the first based on calendar quarters - this change is required under EU legislation. A back series is being provided back to 1997. Previously the first quarter period was December to February. The Household Budget Survey is in development. For the first time it will provide separate detailed information on expenditure outside the jurisdiction. A decision has still not finally been made on whether the PIAAC (Programme for International Assessment of Adult Competencies) survey will be undertaken. The funding for the survey would come from the Department of Education and the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment. Enquiries should be made with the relevant bodies to determine whether the funding for the survey is likely to be made available.
The fieldwork for the census pilot survey is currently being carried out in 10,000 households in 32 enumeration areas spread over eight counties. The reference date for the pilot census was Sunday 19th April. The national address database (GeoDirectory) is being tested as a means of underpinning Census 2011 with particular focus being placed on accounting for those properties not on the GeoDirectory as well as vacant properties. A report on the field operation will be presented for consideration by the Census Advisory Group in September. This will result in recommendations for Government decision concerning the topics to be covered in Census 2011 bearing in mind the core topics which have to be covered under the EU Regulation governing censuses.
The first meeting of the CSO/Revenue Liaison Group, established following sign-off of the Revenue Statistical Potential of Administrative Records Report, took place on the 26th of March. The group is currently focusing on the development of a Memorandum of Understanding which will specify the nature of the relationship between the CSO and the Office of the Revenue Commissioners into the future. Some of the main components of the Memorandum of Understanding (yet to be finalised) are as follows:
Putting on a formal footing the provision of relevant data files by Revenue to CSO;Acknowledging a stakeholder role for the CSO in Revenue Data holdings required as inputs to statistical processing and compilation;Setting out the legal framework (legislation, protocols etc.) within which the two organisations will operate;Establishment of a framework within which requests for new data or changes to existing data flows can be managed;Data protection issues; andMaking provision for the establishment of technical sub-groups to deal with issues of common interest (e.g. single registration process, common business identifiers, NACE coding, data quality from a statistical perspective).
The Energy Statistics Regulation came into effect in January 2009. The Energy Statistics Co-ordination Group have been discussing the individual and collaborative roles of Sustainable Energy Ireland and CSO in the collection, processing and dissemination of Energy Statistics in this new legislative environment. We are in the process of agreeing a Memorandum of Understanding with SEI governing the Energy Statistics Regulation which would in effect make them the lead organisation in ensuring Ireland’s compliance with the Regulation.
HICP was audited by Eurostat/ECB in March. Generally speaking the audit went fine and no major problems were identified. As expected in any audit, some areas were highlighted for improvement, for example, the treatment of second hand cars and clothing. CSO has transmitted our first "experimental" services price index to Eurostat. A new CSO release is currently being prepared and will be published as "experimental" and classified to NACE Rev.2. A number of short term indicators, most notably the Retail Sales Index and the Monthly Production Index will be rebased during May/June. These rebases will be more complex than usual as the new series will be classified to NACE Rev.2. Revised back series will accompany the new indices.
The installation of the new SAS Enterprise Business Intelligence (SAS BI) software system has been successfully completed. This is a significant upgrade to the SAS data analysis software used by the CSO. The new software will complement survey processing systems such as the DMS and will enable more in-depth analysis and integration of data, supporting our objectives for statistical use of administrative data and reduction of the burden on respondents.
The paper listed the various proposals that have been received for Quarterly National Household Survey modules. Some proposals have already been agreed for 2008 and 2012 while others were considered to be inappropriate for the QNHS. The Board agreed that a health module should be undertaken in Quarter 3 2010. Modules on sports and physical exercise, and equality are due to be repeated using a five-year periodicity. Travel and recycling were also seen as priorities and CSO was asked to see if there is a way to incorporate these into a broader "green" module for 2010. The CSO will reflect on how these modules can be taken forward and make a further proposal to the Board if both modules cannot be accommodated.
It was agreed that a new introductory/background chapter 1 should be added and that the main recommendations from the strategy should be brought together into a new chapter 4.
Additional text should be added to the report on the following topics:
Setting the strategy in the current economic environment;
The need for some review of Local Authorities data sources particularly in relation to water;
The demand for new social surveys on topics such as education, employment skills, travel patterns etc.;
The importance of the continuation of the supply of administrative data from Departments to CSO and of the general support of Departments for ensuring that administrative data is fully used statistically to support policy-making and evaluation.
It was agreed that a more detailed note of the comments made at the meeting will be circulated to Board members in the coming week. The intention is to publish the report around July and to submit it to Government.
The next meeting will be on June 30th in the Department of the Taoiseach at 11:00.