Venue: Department Taoiseach
Date: 25 March, 2014
The following members attended:
Dr. Patricia O’Hara, (Chairperson), Ms. Rowena Dwyer, Mr. Tom Geraghty, Dr. Helen Johnston, Mr. Gerard O’Neill, Mr. John Callinan, Mr. John McCarthy and Mr. Pádraig Dalton.
Ms. Jennifer Banim and Mr. Kieran Walsh were also in attendance. Mr. Donal Kelly acted as Secretary.
Since the previous meeting on February 19 2014, five new members have been appointed to the Board: Ms. Rowena Dwyer, Mr. Tom Geraghty, Dr. Helen Johnston, Mr. Gerard O’Neill and Mr. John McCarthy. The term of the current Board will end on December 31 2016
Item 1: Minutes of February 19 (NSB 2014/1/2)
The minutes of the previous meeting were accepted without amendment.
Item 2: Presentation from the NSB Chair - Role of NSB and NSB strategy
Dr. Patricia O’Hara (Chairperson) welcomed the new Board members and congratulated them on their appointments.
The Chairperson outlined the statutory role of the National Statistics Board in terms of establishing priorities for the development of official statistics, assessing the resources available to the CSO and arbitrating where necessary between CSO and other public authorities.
She went on to outline the evolution of Board policy over the years, from an historical focus on the activities of the CSO to a more wide-ranging perspective on the development of a system of Irish official statistics and a national data infrastructure. Significant progress towards the development of a whole-system approach to statistics was described, and initiatives such as the exploitation of administrative data and the new Code of Practice were discussed.
Finally, the Chairperson outlined some challenges and objectives for the system of official statistics that will form the basis for the Board’s new strategy which will cover the years 2015-2020, such as ongoing resource constraints and the development of a comprehensive national data infrastructure.
Item 3: Presentation from Director General CSO – Overview of the CSO
Pádraig Dalton (Director General, CSO) described the statutory functions of the Central Statistics Office and outlined importance of the principles of independence, objectivity and confidentiality to the work of the CSO.
He outlined the structure of the Office and the main features of its current work programme. He pointed to the extent to which the work of the Office is dictated by EU regulation and guided by the UN Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics and the EU Statistics Code of Practice. The major development projects currently underway within CSO, such as the Household Survey Development project and the National Accounts IT project were also discussed, as was the forthcoming Eurostat ‘Peer Review’ of the CSO and other providers of official statistics.
Finally, he outlined the evolving role of the CSO as a facilitator and advocate for a coherent national data infrastructure and the important role that the new Irish Statistical System Code of Practice will play in maximising the value of the data currently held across the public sector.
Item 4: Any other business
The next meeting of the Board will take place on May 20th at 10am in the Department of the Taoiseach.