National Statistics Board
VENUE: Department of An Taoiseach
Date: Thursday, 09 April 2013
The following members attended: Dr. Pat O’Hara, (Chairperson), Professor Philip Lane, Mr. Fergal O’Brien, Mr. Ciaran Dolan, Mr. John Callinan and Mr. Pádraig Dalton.
Apologies were received from: Mr. Michael McGrath and Mr. Paul Sweeney.
Mr. Aidan Punch and Mr. Kieran Walsh were also in attendance. Mr. Donal Kelly acted as Secretary.
Item 1: Minutes of February 14th, 2013 (NSB 2013/2/2)
The minutes of the previous meeting were accepted without amendment.
Item 2: Director General’s progress report (NSB 2013/2/3)
The Director General briefed the Board on a number of recent developments within CSO.
There was some discussion of the Finance and Consumption Survey (HFCS), with the Board asking whether there was a retrospective element to the survey which would allow a pre- and post-recession analysis. The Director General explained that the survey focussed on the current situation but most probably represented the first in a series, so would provide trend information into the future.
The Board sought some additional information about the purpose and value of the Farm Structure Survey (FSS). Kieran Walsh explained that the FSS would provide an up-to-date picture of the underlying structure of farming, including the level of assets and stock held.
The Board also discussed the compilation of environmental and energy statistics. The Director General informed the board that CSO is currently adopting a coordinating role in this area where many other agencies also have an involvement. A Memorandum of Understanding between CSO and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was signed on February 13 2013 to provide a framework for CSO and EPA cooperation and assistance in areas of environmental data governance. It was agreed that a short paper outlining the current status of environmental statistics would be prepared for the next meeting as this is a high priority area for the Board.
The Board welcomed the fact that the backlog in Tourism statistics has now been cleared, and enquired when the mobile phone data might become available to CSO. The Director General explained that although significant progress had been made there remained a number of technical issues to be resolved.
There was a detailed discussion around the new draft regulation on the Macroeconomic Imbalance Procedure (MIP) that will see considerable new powers given to Eurostat and will fundamentally change the relationship between NSIs and Eurostat. The nature of the new regulation and the manner in which it is being introduced at EU level were discussed at length.
Item 3: New Peer Reviews of EU Statistics – briefing note (NSB 2013/2/4)
The Director General outlined the new process of peer reviews of national statistical systems being proposed by the ESSC to begin in early-2014. A feature of the reviews is that they will also focus on producers of official statistics outside of the national statistical institutes.
Item 4: ESGAB Report 2013 (NSB 2013/2/5)
The Director General outlined some of the recommendations of the recent ESGAB annual report and in particular the recommendation to establish a national board to oversee the implementation of the EU Code of Practice. After some discussion of this point, the Board felt that in the context of the new programme of EU peer reviews and the proposed annual compliance report as part of regulation 223/2009, that a new group to oversee compliance with the EU COP was not warranted for the Irish Statistical System at the moment.
Item 4: ISS Update (verbal report)
The Director General noted that a final draft of the new Code of Practice for the Irish Statistical System has been completed and that consideration is now being given to a roll-out strategy. The Director General also noted that while progress continues to be made towards the development of a national data infrastructure, there remain some issues that are proving more difficult to resolve than expected.
The next meeting of the Board will be held at 10am on June 20th 2013.