Eurostat and the statistical authorities of the EU Member States have committed themselves to an encompassing approach towards high quality statistics by adopting the European Statistics Code of Practice. It builds upon a common European Statistical System definition of quality in statistics and targets all relevant areas from the institutional environment, the statistical production processes to our output: European official statistics.
The Code of Practice sets out 15 key principles for the production and dissemination of European official statistics and the institutional environment under which national and Community statistical authorities operate. A set of indicators of good practice for each of the 15 principles provides a reference for reviewing the implementation of the Code. The European Statistics Code of Practice was adopted by the Statistical Programme Committee on 24 February 2005 and promulgated in the Commission Recommendation on the independence, integrity and accountability of the national and Community statistical authorities of 25 May 2005.
As part of the EU-wide peer review process following the adoption of the code, the second peer review of the Irish Central Statistics Office took place in 2015.
The CSO produces its own Irish Annual Statistical Work Programme covering statistical surveys of European statistics and publishes an annual report on that programme as required under the terms of the Peer Review Action Plan 2015 and to move towards complying further with the European Code of Practice, indicators 1.5 and 11.2. The CSO's Statement of Strategy sets out the strategic direction of the Office, providing our management, staff and external stakeholders with a clear guide to our corporate goals and business objectives. The CSO will deliver the strategic aims as set out in the Statement of Strategy 2016-2019 by delivering our statistical work programme, our general work programme and our transformation work programme.
- CSO Annual Statistical Work Programme 2017
- Progress Report on the CSO Annual Statistical Work Programme 2016
- Statement of Strategy 2016 – 2019
- Statement of Strategy Progress Report 2015
Independence on Statistical Matters
The Statistics Act 1993 clearly underpins the independence of the Director General and defines the legal mandate of the CSO to collect data.
Section 13 - Independence of the Director General of the Central Statistics Office on statistical matters
"The Director General shall have the sole responsibility for and be independent in the exercise of the functions of deciding -
- the statistical methodology and professional statistical standards used by the Office;
- the content of statistical releases and publications issued by the Office; and
- the timing and methods of dissemination of statistics compiled by the Office".
The Statistics Act provided for the establishment of a National Statistics Board to guide the strategic direction of the Office in an advisory capacity.
The CSO also has a right of access under the Act subject to some limitations and conditions, to administrative records held by public authorities for statistical purposes.
Section 10 - Functions of the Office
- The functions of the Office shall be the collection, compilation, extraction and dissemination for statistical purposes of information relating to economic, social and general activities and conditions in the State.
- The Office shall have authority to co-ordinate official statistics compiled by public authorities to ensure, in particular, adherence to statistical standards and the use of appropriate classifications.
- The Office shall have authority to assess the statistical potential of the records maintained by public authorities and, in conjunction with them, to ensure that this potential is realised in so far as resources permit".
All information supplied to the CSO is treated as strictly confidential. The Statistics Act, 1993 sets stringent confidentiality standards: Information collected may be used only for statistical purposes, and no details that might be related to an identifiable person or business undertaking may be divulged to any other government department or body.
These national statistical confidentiality provisions are reinforced by the following EU legislation:
- Council Regulation (EC) No 1588/90 on the transmission of data subject to confidentiality to the Statistical Office of the European Communities (EUROSTAT);
- Council Regulation (EC) No 322/97 on Community Statistics; for data collected for EU statistical purposes.
Further details are outlined in the CSO's Code of Practice on Statistical Confidentiality.
CSO Data Protocol
A Data Protocol for how the CSO manages the combining of CSO and non-CSO data came into effect in May 2005. The Protocol covers any work undertaken within the CSO to match the individual records contained in two or more data holdings, at least one of which originates outside the Office.
It also covers any assistance the CSO may give to other public authorities to enable them to link data holdings under their control for statistical purposes.
Tables detailing the CSO Divisions engaged in data matching, datasets matched and outputs obtained are located on the CSO website. These tables are updated quarterly.