Written answers

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Department of An Taoiseach

Departmental Functions

Photo of Micheál MartinMicheál Martin (Leader of the Opposition; Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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118. To ask the Taoiseach the role his Department has in respect of the Central Statistics Office. [51713/17]

Photo of Joe McHughJoe McHugh (Donegal, Fine Gael)
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The Central Statistics Office (CSO) is established by Section 8 of the Statistics Act 1993 and is an independent office under the aegis of the Taoiseach. The Office operates under the terms of the Statistics Act and EU Regulation 223/2009 on European Statistics. Both the national and EU statistical legislation specify that the Director General is independent in relation to professional statistical matters. This is a core principle of official statistics which is specified in the UN Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics and in the European Statistics Code of Practice.

Under the Statistics Act, the Director General of the CSO is appointed by the President and is a corporation sole. The Statistics Act also prescribes the interaction between the CSO and the Taoiseach in relation to administrative matters. The Taoiseach has no role in the production of statistics, statistical methodology, the content of releases, or the timing and method of dissemination of statistics.

The CSO takes a number of additional steps to ensure public trust in statistics. In line with the European Statistics Code of Practice the Office publishes an advance calendar of releases for the year ahead and a more detailed weekly release schedule. Releases are published at the same time each day, 11.00 am, and pre-release access is strictly controlled in an open and transparent manner. Each individual who has pre-release access is named on the CSO website and they normally only receive the release one hour ahead of the specified release time .

The Taoiseach is the appropriate authority regarding staffing matters for certain grades in accordance with the Civil Service Commissioners Act 1956, and the Civil Service Regulations Acts 1956 and 1958.

The CSO’s budget is approved as part of the Taoiseach’s Vote Group. This group also includes the Department of the Taoiseach, the President’s Establishment, the Office of the Attorney General, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, and the Chief State Solicitor’s Office.

Section 25 of the Statistics Act empowers the Taoiseach to prescribe by order statistical surveys that persons or businesses must complete.

In practice the above responsibilities have been delegated to the Government Chief Whip and Minister of State at the Department of the Taoiseach. S.I. No. 298 of 2017 delegates these responsibilities to Minister of State McHugh.

The National Statistics Board provides strategic direction to the CSO. The Board members are appointed by the Taoiseach under Section 18 of the Statistics Act. Under the Act, the Board’s membership includes a senior official from the Department of the Taoiseach.

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