The compilation of statistics commenced in the first half of the 19th century. The first comprehensive population census was undertaken in 1841. Marriage, births and death statistics were maintained after commencement of the relevant legislation.
The statistics branch was established within the Department of Industry and Commerce in 1922 and was ultimately given statutory effect in the Statistics Act, 1926. The CSO was established in 1949.
The Statistics Act 1993 reconstituted the Central Statistics Office. The office was originally formed under the Statistics Act 1926.
The Act establishes the CSO as an independent body or office. It is established as the National Statistics Board which with the agreement of the Taoiseach is to have the general function of guarding the strategic direction of the office. The members of the office are civil servants of the State.
The functions of the office are the collection, compilation, extraction, and dissemination for statistical purposes of information relating to the economic, social and general activities and conditions in the state. The office has authority to coordinate official statistics compiled by other public authorities.
It may in particular require adherence to statistical standards and the use of appropriate classifications by other bodies. The office has access to records maintained by public authority and is entitled to use such records.
The office is independent in the exercise of its functions. The Director General has sole responsibility for the methodology, professional standards, statistical releases and publications, of the office. The Director General has a direct right to consult the Taoiseach concerning matters affecting the office.
National Statistics Board
The National Statistics Board consists of eight members. Seven are appointed by the Taoiseach. Five persons are to be of a proven ability and expertise in the relevant fields. The others are to be the assistant secretary of the Department of Taoiseach and the Department of Finance or equivalent or higher grade. Appointees hold their office for two to six years.
The board is to establish priorities for the compilation and development of official statistics, assess, staffing and resources requirements arbitrating on conflicts, subject to the final decision of the Taoiseach, which may arise between other public authorities relating to the extraction of statistics. Officers of the department office are subject to secrecy requirements.
The Director General may require forms, questionnaires, records, for the collection of information. He may specify the dates and periods in which the forms, questionnaires and records must be returned to the CSO.
Collection of Information
Information may be sought and invited on a voluntary basis. All such information is subject to the restrictions and protections mentioned below.
The Taoiseach may, by order make a requirement binding on persons or businesses to provide statistical information. It may specify the general nature of the information, the frequency to be required, the classes of persons and undertakings affected.
A separate order is to be made for every separate commencement of a survey at intervals of at least 12 months. An order must be made at least every five years for continuing surveys undertaken at intervals of less than 12 months.
The Director General or an officer of the CSO may make a requirement to direct by the delivery of a notice to any person to complete a statistical return, answer questions or supply records by a specified date or within a specified period. The notice may be given to an individual at his last known residence, employment, or business. In the case of a company, it may be sent to its premises at which it conducts its affairs, place of business or residence or place of management.
Where information is required, addressees must furnish the relevant information. In the cases of businesses and companies it applies to partners, directors, managers, liquidators, receivers, etc.
Information supplied for statistical compilation may be used only for the purpose of compilation and statistics. Information obtained in relation to an identifiable person may not be disclosed without that person’s written consent. In the case of a deceased person, the consent of his next of kin or personal representative is required. Any disclosure is an offence. The restrictions on identification cease 100 years after a census.
Powers of Officer
An officer of the department office is entitled at all reasonable times on production of proof of his appointment to enter premises for the purpose of delivering a notice, collecting questionnaires and records and making any enquiries for which he has authority under the act.
The office has access to the records of public authority. Notices may be given to public authorities requiring officers at reasonable times access to, and the right to take copies of records within their charge. It may require returns and copies of extracts of records.
The power does not apply to records relating to courts, Garda Siochana, prisons, or the ombudsman. It does not apply to medical records which are not publicly available, unless the Minister for Health’s consent is given.
The requirement applies notwithstanding anything contained in other enactments other than those for the provision of protection of public order and security of the state.
The office may require public authorities to consult and cooperate for the purpose of assessing the potential of records as a source of statistical information, developing its recording methods and, assistance for statistical purposes.
Failure to Comply
A person who fails to provide requested information in response to a request by the Director General or fails to comply with a requirement is guilty of an offence. It is an offence to prevent an officer from carrying out his duties. It is an offence by an officer of statistics to misuse information. It is an offence to impersonate an officer of the CSO.
It is an offence to provide false information in a material manner knowing it to be false. The penalty is subject on summary conviction to a fine up to €1270, on indictment £20,000. A document purporting to be signed on behalf of the CSO is presumptive evidence of its content.
The CSO collects and publishes a very wide range of statistics. It provides a range of information services. It maintains a website carrying many of the main statistics.
Statistics on trade, balance of payments and financial accounts requires a significant amount of information from business involved in transactions with an international element. It applies to purchase and sale of goods and services abroad, receipt of income from abroad, particulars of shareholders and ownership instruments in any business, particulars of the value of transaction in respect of financial instruments, claims and, financial liabilities. The information may be returned in electronic form by businesses.
The business accounts survey requires information in relation to economic activities. It requires a range of statistical information to be returned by businesses, including details of employees, stock, monies, trading transactions, capital assets. The returns may be made electronically.
There are statistical records in relation to business expenditure on research and development. It requires range of information on R&D and R&D related activities.
The Business Registers Order applies to most businesses undertaking economic activities. Information of a general nature in the order must be returned annually. This includes details of names, trading names,
- business activities, categories of goods and services,
- value of goods and services,
- value of financial instruments,
- particulars of shareholding,
- details of employees,
- number of branches,
- particulars of imports and exports,
- particulars of the structure of the business.
Commercial carriers of goods and passengers by sea must make detailed return.
The census of population order is made every five years. It requires general information and is directed to the population generally. It includes information in relation to housing characteristics and facilities
- Details of name,
- date of birth,
- health, and various other matters relating to individuals in the house
- Details of residential communal establishments
The obligations must be completed by a householder and any adult member of a private household. A range of other parties have obligations, including for example, masters in charge of vessels, managers of hotels, boarding houses, guest accommodation, communities etc.
The Labour Cost Survey is directed at a wide class of businesses and undertakings. It requires details of salaries and wages, details of employees, job vacancies, numbers of employees, pension undertakings, costs of social security, total cost of employment, training costs and other costs.
The statistics monthly industrial, requires particulars of production, turnover, value of orders and other particulars regarding order histories in respect of certain categories of business.
The National Employment Survey order applies to a range of enterprises and to employees of that enterprise selected for participation in the survey. Details include the
- number of persons engaged,
- number of agency staff,
- rates of pay, cost of
- training activity.
Retail Sales order requires particulars of retail sales in accordance with the NACE classification.
The Road Freight order requires particulars of vehicles including age, capacity, weight, type, body type, use, etc.
The Services Turnover order provides details of service provided, value of services, turnover.
The survey of Industrial Commodities Production is aimed at certain mining, manufacturing sectors. It requires particulars of quantities and values of commodities produced, sold, and revenues.
The CSO participates within the European Statistical Systems. There is significant EU statistical obligations and systems. The European Statistics Code of Practice is recognised under the principal regulation 223/2009. It sets out national principles for the compilation of statistics within the EU.
The statistical compilation generally are subject to standards set internationally by the IMF and the UN. The office subscribes to the UN for the principles of official statistics.
2009 EU regulation government statistics is the framework regulation which provides the basic principles and rules as to how the European statistical system functions. The regulation is divided into six chapters.
The regulation provides a framework for cooperation within the system. |Common European statistical principles as set out in the legislation.
The ESS is legally recognised under EU law. It is a partnership between Eurostat which part of the Commission, d the national statistics institutes and other national authorities responsible for statistics. The European statistical system committee is responsible for overall providing of professional guidance to the ESS on European statistics.
The development, production and dissemination of European statistics are determined on a multi-annual basis. This is decided by the Parliament and Council. The program sets general frameworks for priorities of European statistics.
Implementation of the programs is determined by individual statistical acts. This may be made by Parliament and Council or alternatively by informal agreement between the national authorities.
The Regulation sets out the principles for dissemination of European statistics with support. The Regulation provides for a high level of statistical confidentiality. Data is to be protected from disclosure, save for the purpose of dissemination of statistics.
The legislation provides for the acquisition of data from public sources. There are a significant number of regulations and directives seeking to establish confidentiality of statistics at EU levels.
A range of EU regulations define and classify statistics in accordance with economic activities on a common basis throughout the EU. A range of regulations deal with Intrastat obligations in relation to trading of goods and services within the EU. Extrastat relates to external trade.
Regulations provide for
- statistics on gross national product and income
- statistics relevant to economic and monetary union including the excessive debt procedure.
- the European system of accounts,
- statistics on prices and harmonised methods of consumer price index calculation,
- regulations on balance of payment both inside and outside the EU
- Statistics on purchasing power parities
There are detailed of statistical requirements applicable to business. This includes
- statistics on business structure,
- community surveys of industrial products,
- statistics on business register,
- statistics on foreign affiliates
- statistics on tourism
Statistics on population and social condition include statistics on migration and protection of workers, statistics on health and safety issues including illnesses and death, public health issues.
Energy and environment statistics arise under a range of directives and regulations providing for collection of statistics on the environment, waste, and energy, pesticides
Labour market statistics require labour force surveys in a common format through the EU.
Statistics in relation to education, science and culture include details of vocational training and education.
There is EU regulations in force relating to statistics in the field of agriculture,
- survey of agricultural holding
- crop statistics,
- statistics of milk and milk product,
- statistics of bovine pigs, sheeps and goats.
- Statistics on fisheries
- Statistics on aquaculture
Statistics on transport include statistical returns in respect of
- carriage of passengers
- rates, mail and air,
- carriage of goods by inland waterways,
- carriage of goods by rail,
- carriage of goods by road,
- carriage of goods by sea.