The Irish Statistical System

The Irish Statistical System (ISS) comprises those parts of the public sector involved in the collection (whether directly or indirectly), processing, compilation or dissemination of Official Statistics. In Ireland, Official Statistics are produced by the CSO, as well as a range of other government departments, agencies and state bodies.

Central Statistics Office

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) is Ireland's national statistical office and it's purpose is to impartially collect, analyse and make available statistics about Ireland’s people, society and economy.
Specifically, the CSO's mandate is "The collection, compilation, extraction and dissemination for statistical purposes of information relating to economic, social and general activities and conditions in the State".

The CSO has a formal coordination role to play across the public service in relation to Official Statistics. This coordination role is set in a legal context in both national (Statistics Act, 1993) and EU legislation (Amended Regulation EC No. 223/2009).

Other National Authorities

Other National Authorities (ONAs) is the term used to describe the public service bodies in Ireland, other than the CSO, involved with the development, production and dissemination of European statistics. The CSO has a responsibility for ensuring ONAs adhere to quality standards for European statistics as set out in the ESCoP under EU statistical law. European statistics are determined in the European statistical programme.

What are European Statistics?

Amended Regulation (EC) 223/2009 sets out the framework for European Statistics, compiled by the relevant national and Community authorities.

European statistics are relevant statistics necessary for the performance of the activities of the Community. European statistics are determined in the European statistical programme. They shall be developed, produced and disseminated in conformity with the statistical principles as set out in Article 285(2) of the Treaty and further elaborated in the European statistics Code of Practice in accordance with Article 11.

Other Compilers of Official Statistics in Ireland

There are other compilers of Official Statistics in Ireland which are not classified as an ONA. The Statistics Act defines Official Statistics as those which are compiled by the CSO or any other public authority. 

Irish Government Statistical Service 

The Irish Government Statistical Service (IGSS) is the name given to the network of CSO seconded statisticians working in government Departments and public sector organisations. With the number of seconded statisticians totalling 39 at the end of September 2023, the programme continues to grow and build a more coordinated analytical service, centrally supported by the CSO. 

The following provisions from the Statistics Act are particularly relevant:
Section 11

(1) The Office may make arrangements with other public authorities and persons for the collection, compilation, extraction or dissemination of information for statistical purposes.

(2) The Office shall maintain close and regular contact with the principal users and suppliers of statistics.

Section 30

(1) For the purpose of assisting the Office in the exercise of its functions under this Act, the Director General may by delivery of a notice request any public authority to:

(a) allow officers of statistics at all reasonable times to have access to, inspect and take copies of or extracts from any records in its charge, and

(b) provide the Office, if any such officer so requires, with copies of extracts from any such record, and the public authority shall, subject to subsection(2) of this section, comply  with any such request free of charge.

 Subsection (2) of this section -

(a) shall not apply to records pertaining to a Court, the Garda Síochána, the prison administration or the Ombudsman or any of his officers;

(b) shall apply to medical records which are not publicly available only with the agreement of the Minister for Health;

(c) shall in all other cases have effect notwithstanding anything contained in any enactment other than provisions for the protection of public order or the security of the State.

Section 31

(1) The Director General may request any public authority to consult and coperate with him for the purpose of assessing the potential of the records of  the authority as a source of statistical information and, where appropriate and practicable, developing its recording methods and systems for statistical purposes, and the public authority shall comply with any such request, in so far as resources permit.

(2) If any public authority proposes to introduce, revise or extend any system for the storage and retrieval of information or to make a statistical survey it shall consult with the Director General and accept any recommendations that he may reasonably make in relation to the proposal.