Venue: Department of the Taoiseach
Date: June 30, 2010 at 11:00
Dr Patricia O’Hara chaired the meeting. The following members attended: Professor Philip Lane, Mr Fergal O’Brien, Mr Gerry O’Hanlon. CSO Directors Mr. Steve MacFeely and Ms. Siobhán Carey also attended.
Apologies were received from Mr. Con Lucey, Mr. Michael McGrath and Mr. Paul Sweeney. Mr Gerry Brady acted as Secretary. Mr. John Shaw attended on behalf of the Department of the Taoiseach.
The Chairperson noted the promotion of former member Ms. Mary Doyle to head of the Office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs.
The minutes were agreed without amendment.
The reference date for the Census of Agriculture was June 1st 2010. As of late June the response rate was 55%. The new Wholesale Price Index (base year 2005) and classified to NACE Rev.2 was published on June 18th. Progress on developing a House Price Index is proceeding well. A first draft of the index will be compiled by the autumn.
In 2008 the CSO published a one-off study on Family Businesses. In the past month, the CSO have been contacted by DG ENTR to discuss this work, with a view to a feasibility study on the extension of this analysis across all EU member states. The first North-South Transport Statistics Liaison Group meeting was held in Dublin on June 16th. The aim of this group is to facilitate the sharing of information, improve comparability of transport statistics North and South and identify projects suitable for joint cooperation. The CSO had a meeting with Eurostat, DG TREN, DG CLIM and the EEA with a view to developing a feasibility study on the compilation of aviation emissions data for the EU based on the Irish methodology.
The new Large Cases Unit in CSO is becoming more established. They are currently working with Trade statistics to agree amendments to Trade data for 2009 based on an analysis of CSO Monthly Production and Balance of Payments data on international trade in goods. A draft new Regulation concerning the collection of statistics on environmental economic accounts is being discussed at EU Council level.
The report on the pilot process mapping project (undertaken within the Lean Six Sigma framework) was presented at the May Senior Management Committee meeting. The project team presented the process maps for National Accounts, Quarterly Production and QNHS. On the basis of the pilot project the benefits of the process included reducing process risk, better timelines and more streamlined processes. The report noted that some processes had become unnecessarily complex over time and process mapping was a key tool in identifying and addressing these complexities.
Planning for the census is progressing satisfactorily. Over 300 shortlisted candidates are being interviewed for the top 50 management positions in nine boards located throughout the country. Interviewing commenced on 21st June. Over 1.25m English language household forms have been printed and the printing of supporting materials including maps and manuals is proceeding according to plan. The sourcing of 500 laptops for the field supervisors and mobile phones for the 5,500 field staff has also commenced.
Progress is being made on the timeliness of earnings data - Q4 2009 will be published next week with additional new analysis on matched samples with the enterprise as the unit of analysis. New analysis has also been included in the QNHS on educational attainment and early school leavers which has been well received. PIAAC pilot is currently underway and will finish in mid August. The Household Budget Survey data collection will finish in early September. The Adult Education Survey specification is now confirmed.
It was agreed that the CSO would submit to the Board any proposals to make changes to the list of QNHS modules previously set by the Board for 2010 and 2011.
The CSO reviewed the progress made on the 19 recommendations included in the NSB 2009-2014 Strategy for Statistics. The Board asked that a further update be given at the next meeting and that, where relevant, the expected completion period and amount of progress made column be completed for each recommendation. For recommendations which are more ongoing, progress towards appropriate milestones should be identified.
The Lean Six Sigma (LSS) exercise to review Trade statistics has been completed. Arising from the review, a roadmap for future developments has been set out and the first meeting of the VIMA/CSO implementation group was held on 29th June. There was a high level of satisfaction in both CSO and Revenue with the outcome of the LSS Trade exercise.
The Board complimented the CSO on an excellent response burden initiatives paper. Overall statistics accounts for around 0.6% of the total administrative burden. The objective to use administrative Revenue data to reduce the burden on very small companies was welcomed. Cautions regarding a possible loss of some information such as on stocks were noted as was the incentive to encourage electronic filing of survey and administrative returns.
The CSO would like to meet with representative organisations of employers to discuss new approaches to further reducing the burden on larger companies.
The report contains 12 conclusions and recommendations. These include a recommendation to meet the Data Protection Commissioner to discuss the data protection concerns he raised in the National Postcodes Project Board report. The report recommends the introduction of a postcode that would be unique to each address and that was built upon recent advances in satellite technology.
The Board requested that clarification be obtained on any recent progress on the introduction of postcodes.
The Organisational Review Programme (ORP) report on the CSO is due to be published by the Department of the Taoiseach in the next two weeks. The publication will comprise reports on four Departments / Offices: the Revenue Commissioners, the Department of Health and Children, the Property Registration Authority and the CSO. The report has been made available to all CSO staff and information sessions were held in June.
The CSO's ORP Action Plan, which is included in the report, will be an important input to its next Statement of Strategy. The current strategy covers the years 2008 to 2010. The CSO will prepare a new Statement of Strategy for 2011 to 2013.
The next meeting will be on September 16th.