Venue: Department Taoiseach
Date: March 9, 2010 at 11:00
Dr. Patricia O’Hara chaired the meeting. The following members attended: Ms. Mary Doyle, Mr. Michael McGrath, Professor Philip Lane, Mr. Fergal O’Brien, Mr. Gerry O’Hanlon
CSO Assistant Directors Mr. Bill Keating, Ms. Siobhan Carey and Mr. Joe Treacy also attended. Apologies were received from Mr. Con Lucey and Mr. Paul Sweeney. Mr. Gerry Brady acted as Secretary.
The minutes were agreed without amendment.
A new publication on "Estimates of the Capital Stock of Fixed Assets" was published in December. This contains estimates for the years 1999 to 2008. The EU Commission have brought forward proposals for increased investigation powers for Eurostat as regards the Government Debt and Deficit figures. The Eurostat examination of Ireland's GNI data continued in February with a detailed investigation of some specific calculations. The result was satisfactory but work is still required on some items (as is usual in the case of the GNI visits).
The census forms (household, individual etc.) have been finalised and printing will commence in April. All Enumeration Areas (EAs) have been decided (4,850) and the relevant field districts (440) and regional supervisor areas (44) are being finalised at present. The senior field management posts (6 census liaisons officers and 44 regional supervisors - about 9 months duration) will be advertised on CSO (FÁS and PAS) websites in late April. An online recruitment system has been developed for this.
An online public consultation on outputs was launched on CSO website on 1 March (see http://www.cso.ie/census/PublicConsult2011/PublicConsult2011.htm). The Census Order which will be the legal basis for the census is being finalised with Office of Parliamentary Counsel. The census will be covered by an EU Regulation (the first time for this to happen).
The earning data for all sectors for Q2 2009 was published at the end of December. Q3 2009 will be published before the end of March. The second and final report on the National Disability Survey was published in January. Work has started on preparation for the PIAAC pilot survey later this year.
The CSO hosted an Administrative Data Seminar on the 22nd February 2010 in Dublin Castle. The primary objectives of the seminar were:
To promote enhanced engagement from stakeholders in the Irish Statistical System by providing concrete examples of the benefits that exploitation of administrative data and matching/linking of sources can provide;
To inform stakeholders of current activities and the potential benefits to them (e.g. greater range of statistics, more in-depth analysis, reduced respondent burden, more timely statistics ) from these activities;
To highlight what can be achieved when the necessary statistical infrastructure (unique identifiers, postal codes etc.) is in place right across the system.
There was a very good attendance at the seminar covering a broad range of users including Government Departments & their Agencies, Local Authorities, Universities, Business Representative Groups and Research institutes.
The CSO has written to the Data Protection Commissioner requesting a meeting in the context of the new NSB Strategy and in particular the key elements relating to the use of unique identifiers (recommendations 5 & 6) and postal codes (recommendation 7).
In December the “Foreign Nationals: PPSN Allocations, Employment and Social Welfare Activity 2008” release was published. This 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
At the start of 2010, the CSO initiated the first phase of a Lean Six Sigma pilot in three business areas. The scope of the project is confined to the development of an accurate representation of our ‘as is’ processes in these three pilot areas (Quarterly National Household Survey, Personal Consumption and Expenditure (element of our National Accounts), and the Quarterly Construction Index). The CSO is engaged in a joint Lean Six Sigma project with the Revenue Commissioners in relation to Trade statistics processes. The LSS exercise will examine, map and analyse activities related to the collection, processing and dissemination of Trade statistics across both organizations hence providing a valuable overview of the whole process.
The final draft of the CSO's IT Strategy 2010-2012 has been presented to the Senior Management Committee and will be signed-off this month. The strategy follows a period of major investment in IT by the CSO, with the installation of the generic Data Management System (DMS) for statistical processing and the upgrade of our statistical analysis software to SAS Enterprise Business Intelligence (SAS BI). The strategy sets out how we will use and further develop these systems over the next three years and reflects business requirements arising from the CSO's Plan for Business Organisation and Development and the NSB Strategy for Statistics 2009-2014.
The draft Organisation Review Programme report on the CSO has been completed. The CSO is now preparing its Action Plan which will be an integral part of the published report. The report will be published together with reviews of the Department of Health and Children, the Revenue Commissioners and the Property Registration Authority.
This report has been completed. All members of the Board were interviewed. There was a 72% response rate from an online survey of staff members which was very good. A short visit to CBS Netherlands was also undertaken.
There are some clear messages coming out of the process and they are broadly consistent with the NSB strategy for Statistics 2009-2014. Strengths of the CSO include: staff competence and experience; quality of work; CSO reputation; customer service; strong organisational values; fairness; and achievements at international level. Areas requiring improvement include: leadership and management; communications and consultation; ICT; resource allocation; and absence of formal systems.
The CSO is broadly satisfied with the report which is likely to be published during May.
This document contained a brief status report of progress on the 19 recommendations in the NSB strategy. The reporting template will be enhanced over time and reports on progress will be updated for each Board meeting.
This paper outlined the various user liaison and consultation mechanisms being used by the CSO. In recent years there has been a shift to using more project specific mechanisms such as a specific group of topic experts to assist in the development of a new Quarterly National Household Survey module. It was agreed that another NSB user survey should be undertaken to inform future CSO and NSB strategies.
There have been some discussions with NESC regarding how broader measures of progress might be adopted in an Irish context. It is hoped that NSB and NESC will adopt a joint approach and co-chair a small group to consider how best to advance this.
A former Board member Cathal O’Loghlin passed away recently. The Board expressed its condolences to his family.
The Joint Oireachtas Committee on Communications, Energy and Natural Resources has recently written to both the CSO and the NSB seeking information in relation to the introduction of postcodes in 2011. The CSO has responded very favourably to the Committee in relation to the decision to introduce postcodes. It was agreed that the Board would respond with reference to the NSB paper in support of the statistical value of postcodes http://www.nsb.ie/word_docs/Stat_value_postcodes.doc
The next meeting will be on the 21st April, 2010 in the Department of the Taoiseach at 11:00. One of the later 2010 meetings will be in CSO Cork on and will involve a meeting with CSO partnership.