Skip to main content
Normal View

Dáil Éireann debate -
Tuesday, 5 Oct 2010

Vol. 717 No. 2

Ceisteanna — Questions

Census 2011

Enda Kenny


1 Deputy Enda Kenny asked the Taoiseach the status of preparations on the Central Statistics Office census 2011; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4601/10]

Eamon Gilmore


2 Deputy Eamon Gilmore asked the Taoiseach the preparations being made by the Central Statistics Office for the 2011 Census; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6735/10]

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin


3 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Taoiseach the arrangements for the 2011 Census in preparation by the Central Statistics Office; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11531/10]

David Stanton


4 Deputy David Stanton asked the Taoiseach the status of presentations on the Central Statistics Office Census 2011; the possibility of expanding the Census 2011 questions or those of future Census to collect disability statistics; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22698/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 1 to 4, inclusive, together.

The Government decided in July 2008 that a census of population will take place in 2011 and gave the CSO the green light to begin immediately the necessary preparatory work associated with the holding of the census. Part of the preparatory phase of all recent censuses in Ireland is to consult with users regarding the questions to be included on the census form. In this regard the CSO conducted a public consultation by inviting members of the public and various interest groups to make submissions on the topics to be covered, and on the outputs to be produced. A notice to this effect was published in the national press in September 2008 seeking submissions, and all Departments were contacted for their input.

A census advisory group was set up in autumn 2008 to consider the submissions received and to advise on the questions to be tested in a pilot survey planned to be carried out in April 2009. The census advisory group consisted of representatives of central and local government, the social partners, universities, research bodies and other users of census data along with relevant CSO personnel.

Over 90 submissions covering 31 topics were received in response to the public consultation. The pilot survey was held on Sunday, 19 April 2009. It covered 32 enumeration areas spread throughout the country and the sample consisted of 11,400 households. The main purpose of the pilot survey was to test public reaction to the wording of a number of new questions, and changes to existing questions. The CSO finalised its analysis of the results of the census pilot in October 2009 and, following a further meeting of the census advisory group, made recommendations to the Government.

Based on the recommendations from this group, the Government, at its meeting on 11 December 2009, agreed to the topics to be included in the questionnaire for the 2011 census. This list of topics is available on the CSO website, along with the report of the census pilot survey. The content and layout of the census form were subsequently finalised. The Government also decided that the next census will take place on Sunday, 10 April 2011. I am advised by the CSO that all of the 2 million census forms required to conduct the census have now been printed and are in storage ready for delivery to the field staff early next year.

The second phase of this consultation process, which focuses on the dissemination of the results of the census, was launched on 4 March 2010. This was conducted via the CSO website and through direct e-mail contact with over 400 interested parties. The census advisory group was reconvened on 26 April 2010 to assess the responses and the census 2011 dissemination strategy was subsequently published on the CSO website.

Two questions are included on the census form that deal with disability. The format and wording of these questions were agreed following consultation and testing and this process will again be implemented in deciding the content of future census questionnaires.

Preparations for the processing of the census returns are well advanced. Processing will involve the capture, coding and verification of approximately 1.7 million census forms over a six-month period between June and December 2011. Following an open competitive tender, the contract to design the processing system was awarded on 10 July 2009 to a UK company, CACI UK Limited, the same company retained to assist in the processing of the 2002 and 2006 censuses. The contract covers the printing of the census forms, which is now complete and was carried out by DCKebrook in Citywest, as well as the software and hardware solution for the processing of the information returned on them.

The recruitment of the required 5,500 field staff and 150 additional headquarter staff to conduct and process the census is now also well under way. The headquarter staff will be sourced through a mixture of redeployment of staff from elsewhere within the public sector and the creation where appropriate of some temporary clerical officer positions. The recruitment campaign began on 29 April with the advertisement of the 50 senior manager positions. The first of these staff were appointed on 27 September and will work for nine months from now until June of next year. The remaining 44 regional supervisors are due to take up duty on 19 October and these staff will also be employed until June 2010. The recruitment of the 440 field supervisors, who will be employed for six months on the census, has also begun. The applications closed on 24 September and they are due to be appointed in early January 2011. Some 5,000 enumerators positions will be advertised on the 29 December and they will be appointed for a ten-week period from 7 March to 13 May 2011. Applications for all posts are being accepted through an on-line application form on the CSO website and are being advertised in advance through FÁS on and in the national press.

I am happy to report that preparations for the 2011 census are progressing well and that with the full participation of the public at the time of the census, the results will be an important input into planning the future of this country.

I thank the Minister of State for his comprehensive reply. He said there will be more than 5,000 enumerators and 440 field staff. There are many bright unemployed people so will he undertake that when people are being taken on to fill these positions, that will be taken into account? It is very important we give unemployed people every opportunity to get back into the workplace. This is a perfect opportunity for these people. From the time of the preparatory work until the census results come out, how many people will be employed, including field staff, enumerators and those collating the information in the census?

Although I do not believe it will happen, if this Government lasts until 2012, will the results of the census have any effect on constituency boundary changes made since 2007? From speaking to people throughout the country, the constituency boundaries are out of sync with population figures. Will the Minister of State comment on that? Did the Minister of State have an analysis done of what this will cost the taxpayer? When replying I ask the Minister of State to refer to the unemployed people who will be taken on to work on the census.

On the question of costs, I do not have the figures with me. However, the figure comprises the number of years involved in the preparation of the census and reflects the core staff to deliver the census and the subsequent analysis. The figure came about over a number of years, covering 2009 to 2011. I will try to get that for the Deputy as I do not have it to hand. In other words, it is not a single budget heading in one given year because of the way in which the preparatory work is done. The pilot alone cost approximately €250,000. It is not itemised as a one year expense. It is across a number of years and takes in the pilot, the preparation, the delivery of the census in 2011 and the ongoing analysis which will run through to the end of 2012. I will try to get a written answer on that for the Deputy.

On the staffing issue, not all the staff will be employed for the same period of time. Approximately 5,500 staff will be engaged in this process, in addition to the 150 who will be assigned to headquarters. Most of those would be a redeployment of the 150. The 5,500 breaks down roughly into the 50 senior manager positions, the first of which were appointed in September. Effectively, all of those will run up to June of next year. A total of 44 regional supervisors are due to be appointed. A total of 440 field supervisors will be employed on the census for the six month period and 50 will be employed for nine months. Most of the 440 field supervisor positions have been advertised and they will commence in January 2011 but the single biggest number is the 5,000 enumerators. Those positions will be advertised officially on 29 December and they will be appointed for a period of ten weeks from 7 March to 13 May 2011. That is the breakdown of the 5,500.

On the question about enumerators and those in receipt of social welfare, first and foremost the positions are open to anybody who meets the qualifications and are deemed suitable, regardless of whether they are in employment, unemployed or whatever may be their circumstances. They must be suitably qualified to deliver the task.

Regarding those in receipt of social welfare, it should be noted that each enumerator is required to deliver census forms to approximately 400 households and most of that work is carried out in the evening and at weekends. I am advised by the Central Statistics Office that because of the necessity to make personal contact with all householders, it is a requirement of the job that enumerators typically work five or six evenings a week and perhaps one day at the weekend. If that is the case, under social welfare rules they would not have an entitlement to claim jobseeker's allowance because effectively they would not be available for work. The experience of the staff and the advice I am getting from the CSO is that, typically, the enumerators must work four or five days a week because there is a need to make personal contact and some householders may not be at home on a Monday evening. The work required tends to be for most evenings of the week as well as one of the days of the weekend.

The other point the Deputy raised was in respect of the boundary review. My understanding is that it is on the publication of the final and full results of the CSO that the boundary review is done, not on the preliminary figures. The final figures from the CSO on this census are not due until the end of 2012.

Will the Minister of State expand on what he said about the employment of unemployed people as enumerators for the census? He seemed to have got the impression from the previous question that this would be a top-up on their dole. These people are fairly well paid and it would be a job with experience for people. I ask the Minister of State — the previous question was in the same vein — to insist that those who are to be employed on the census are unemployed rather than those who already have jobs or large pensions. Many of those employed previously have been people who did not need the employment who were already on very hefty pensions. I doubt it is illegal to exclude certain people and am sure the Minister of State can exclude whoever he likes. I ask for a special effort to be made in this regard and for the Minister of State to ensure that the 5,000 jobs go to some of our 450,000 unemployed.

I have been puzzled by another issue which I believe gave rise to flaws in the last census. During the madness we call the boom many people put up almost impenetrable gates on their communities. Census forms can be posted to the people in question, but how the enumerators get the forms back is beyond me. I am puzzled by how the enumerators were even to find a way in to these communities to retrieve the census forms. One must know the code to open the gates and one cannot get at the letter boxes without the code. The postman has the code but I do not know whether the enumerators would have it. I suggest that many people in these gated communities were not counted in the last census. A question on the census form should ask whether the person resides in a gated community. This would give us some idea of the number of people who have locked themselves away from the rest of society. This information might be a useful planning tool for the Government in the future.

Another question asked on the census was whether people used a car to travel to work. That is useless information on its own. If the question was what route the person took to go to work, we would have real information from a transport planning point of view. We should also ask how many cars the household had. This would be more useful information from the point of view of planning.

Deputy Kehoe raised a question that exercises all our minds, namely, constituency boundaries. I understand that at the time of the most recent census a decision was made in a court case — I stand to be corrected on this if I am wrong — that the preliminary figures could be used to determine boundaries and that changes could be made on the basis of those figures. I know that case was taken, but am not sure of the result. I understand what I have said to be the case.

The Deputy said they "could" be used. I do not think that has been the custom, but I will try and clarify the situation. My point relates to the final figures. While preliminary figures would be available in the summer of 2011, following the census, the final figures would be ——

Will the Minister of State make it to then?

The final figures would not be available until approximately June of 2012. The Deputy asked me to make a particular effort for the unemployed. In that regard, there is an open and fair competition for the job of enumerator and people are not precluded from applying for the job. That said, I would like to reiterate that the positions are being actively advertised with FÁS, etc. However, there is no policy stating it can only be a particular cohort and it is an open and transparent application and processing system.

The Deputy made an interesting point with regard to gated communities. I do not know how enumerators gained access to the gated communities, but the feedback from the last census was that they were very diligent at their work and lack of access did not transpire to be the reality. The enumerators gained access and there were very few places where they did not get a response.

Deputy Stagg also referred to how census questions are formulated. We could all put forward opinions on what should or could be included. However, a procedure took place and the content of the census questionnaire was agreed following extensive consultation with all Departments and the public. For the 2011 census, the consultation took place between August and November of 2008. Submissions were invited from the public by way of public notice in the press and all Departments and a range of interested bodies were written to inviting their input. As I mentioned earlier, some 91 submissions were received, covering 31 different topics. The CSO was then assisted by a census advisory group. In addition, three separate subgroups were convened to discuss and agree questions on disability, education and the enumeration of the homeless. All the new questions and changes to the existing questions were then tested in a pilot survey in July 2009. The decision on which questions to test in the survey was made following extensive debate among the members of the advisory group, which took into account several of the issues raised in submissions in its deliberations. It is not possible to say this was down to an individual. There was a thorough consultation process, an advertisement was placed publicly, all Departments and users of this information were asked for their input in the formulation of the appropriate questions and the amended questions were subsequently tested.

Last June, the Children's Rights Alliance called on the Taoiseach to use his powers under the Statistics Act 1993 to instruct the CSO to access and to scrutinise the HSE child death records in order that we would have full information, full disclosure and accountability and the facts and figures we were seeking with difficulty during that time. Under section 25 of the Act, the Taoiseach of the day is empowered to instruct the CSO to seek and secure specific information at any given time and the CSO is empowered under such an instruction to require of individuals or bodies that they fully comply with said request. It is apparent that the Taoiseach did not exercise that power on this occasion. Was serious consideration given to the proposition by him at the time, given the great difficulty there was establishing the full facts relating to child deaths in State care? Perhaps the Minister of State does not know and it would be unfair of me to expect him to answer here today. However, if he cannot reply, will he please establish the factual position? Has the power contained in section 25 ever been employed by this or a former Taoiseach since its enactment?

With regard to preparation for next year's census, will consideration be given to the inclusion of a question or questions relating to immigration? It is important that we try to establish factually what is the situation with immigration. Last week the Minister of State almost applauded the fact that 5,400 fewer people were on the live register, yet the greater number of those and more besides contributed to that change in the figures by taking the only course open to them in the current economic climate, which was, sadly and regrettably, to head to our ports and airports and, hopefully, depart for job opportunities in other locations. Will consideration be given to the inclusion of the following questions for the returns of families — "Did any member of your family emigrate over the past 12 months, two years or five years? If so, to what destination?". It would be a useful exercise, which would inform the factual situation regarding the real impact and effect of the failure so far to introduce a job sustaining and job creation strategy on the part of Government.

On the Deputy's second question, there is no specific question on the census form, neither is there any opportunity at this time for its inclusion in the 2011 census as this would not be logistically possible. The preparatory work for the census forms has been completed, a pilot has been undertaken and 2 million forms have been printed and are in storage in readiness for use. When the analysis of this census is complete, the same process is repeated in the formulation of a future census. The Deputy's point could be considered in the subsequent analysis of the public consultation as to the nature and type of questions. However, it would be misleading to suggest there is any opportunity to include it in this census form because this has been printed and presented.

I agree with the Deputy on one point. The live register is often not the best measure and while it is a headline figure to which reference is made continuously, it is probably not the best figure. Other figures are available from the quarterly national household survey or with regard to those in employment. Approximately 1.86 million people are in employment. As the Deputy said, perhaps those figures would be more specific and more detailed but the question in this census to do with emigration cannot be. However, this would not preclude it from being considered during the next public consultation period when it is open to anybody — including the Deputy — to make submissions.

The first element of the question ——

Will I deal with that point with the next question because it is relevant to that question?

Questions Nos. 1 to 4 are grouped.

Yes. However, we have spent some considerable time on that question and we need to move on.

I beg the pardon of the House. It is being treated as a stand-alone question.

Will the Minister of State agree that this is an ideal time to collect proper statistics on disability? Will he agree there is no data on people with autism or ASD? Has the Government received the recommendation from the National Disability Authority or the Health Research Board, on the matter of collecting information on disability and specifically on autism? As there is no such data in existence, how can we plan for services for people with disabilities if we do not have the complete picture? Is the census not a golden opportunity by which to collect this information?

How does Ireland compare with other countries in this regard? Do other European states collect information on specific disabilities? How can we facilitate a comparison of data from other states as I believe we agreed in Washington a number of years ago?

I ask the Minister of State to remember we have spent half an hour on this question and we have other questions to deal with.

It is worth the time.

I will be as brief as possible. With regard to the areas of disability and autism, a specific census advisory sub-group was convened to consider the disability questions on the 2011 census form. This group was composed of representatives from the National Disability Authority, the Equality Authority, the Disability Federation of Ireland and the National Federation of Voluntary Bodies. The proposal to list specific disabilities within the disability question, namely, to make specific reference to autistic spectrum disorder or Down's syndrome in the category of a learning or intellectual disability, was considered at the second meeting of the group. The group concluded it would not be appropriate nor would there be enough room on the census form to list all individual disabilities. However, in order to go some way towards accommodating the request, the existing 2006 category of a learning or intellectual disability, was split into two categories: an intellectual disability and separately, a difficulty with learning, remembering or concentrating. This was tested in the pilot survey. The group was of the view that this approach narrowed the categories and thus helped to address the issue of autism while allowing the questions to remain as inclusive as possible. The Deputy's specific question about autism was considered by that group and it has changed the wording of the 2006 census by breaking the question into two parts. The concern was that it was not possible to list a whole range of individual disabilities so the group has undertaken a pilot test of this particular wording and it is satisfied with the results. This wording will appear on the census form.

We still do not have specific information about autism. It is a waste of time. Did the Minister and the Government agree with this group? Did they take the advice without making changes? What does the Minister think?

If one is going to receive advice from people involved in the sector, either one has confidence in them or one does not. The advice came from representatives of the National Disability Authority, the Equality Authority, the Disability Federation of Ireland and the National Federation of Voluntary Bodies. We either have confidence in their advice or we do not.

Did they all agree?

I do not have the full report.

Can the Minister of State make it available to us?

I think it is available but I do not know. The results of the pilot programme are available. I have not seen the full report but the recommendations are very clear that it was not possible to name a range of individual disabilities. The group was quite specific on this. It broadened the categories. Some groups were involved in the area of autism and are working with the CSO because it is now a question of analysis of data. That work is ongoing.

Regarding international comparisons, it is important to know that will be a census across Europe in 2011. A range of issues common to each country will be included in ours and our census will include further additional categories to those specified for the EU.

The collation of these figures presents an opportunity to address the problems associated with electoral registers throughout the country. Some people named on the register may be dead and there may be multiple entries. This presents an opportunity to carry out a major rejig and to put it right. Will the Minister of State consider an extra form to ensure the electoral register is accurate? This presents an opportunity and will save money in the long run because otherwise we will have to try to get this right in minor ways in different constituencies——

Deputy Carey is imparting information.

——and I urge the Minister of State to consider this.

It is an interesting observation but is not practical at this point in time. The census is conducted as a stand-alone item of work. It is important to emphasise the key distinction that it is absolutely confidential to people completing the census. The data is anonymised when it is used afterwards. When individuals are filling in the form and providing personal details, the information does not go beyond the CSO. The statistical data goes beyond the CSO but the personal information submitted does not. Confidentiality is important and if people felt this personal information was going beyond the CSO, compliance, support and the trust the census has built up over a long number of years would be diminished. People comply with this willingly and they understand its significance and importance. One of the key elements is that it is totally confidential. When verified, transferred and used, the data is used on a statistical basis and individuals remain anonymous. No personal information is passed on to third parties. This is the key point about the census.

I ask the Minister of State for a commitment to the House. As Fine Gael spokesman for social protection, I point out that there are 465,000 people unemployed. My colleagues have already raised this point. I want a commitment that the Government will ensure those employed will be the highly educated people unemployed at the moment, not those on large State pensions. I want a commitment that the Government will send a directive to use these people rather than those who are already in receipt of State pensions. Some 465,000 people are unemployed and we have plenty people to do this task. In three weeks time, when we have an election, these people should be used because we do not want people already in employment to be employed at polling booths. With 465,000 people unemployed, we can certainly find the number of people needed. I want a commitment that the Government will now make that decision. There is great anger among the people and they do not want to see anyone coming to their doors who is already getting a big pension, having left his or her job at 50 years of age. I want a commitment that unemployed people will get those jobs.

I wish to save time, a Cheann Comhairle. I am sure the Minister of State can deal with two questions together. Not for the first time I had a disturbing conversation at lunch time with a 17 year old girl who has been sleeping on the streets of Dublin for the past two nights with her two year old daughter. In the context of the census will a mechanism be in place to accurately measure the number of people who are sleeping rough, their ages and background details? Has that been factored into the planning? I accept it is possible to get information on people who are in hostels but, unfortunately, many homeless people are not.

On Deputy Ring's question about who can apply for the jobs, it is important to point out that the process is fair and open. The jobs are advertised with FÁS and on but it is open to all people to apply as the process is a public recruitment one. There is no distinction or curtailment but the places where the jobs have been advertised would afford anyone who is on the live register the opportunity to know that they are available. It is not possible to isolate and advertise——

It is now. This is a different economic time to what we had five years ago. We must give the jobs to young people with degrees and other educational achievements who have no work.

Deputy Ring, the Minister of State should be allowed to speak without interruption.

We should not give such jobs to people who already have big pensions.

Deputy Ring, please.

The CSO is not allowed to discriminate in favour of any one group of people when conducting its recruitment.

That means we are going to give the jobs to people who already have pensions.

All applicants will have to be treated fairly. On the homeless, there is a section for those involved in the voluntary sector. I do not know if the category of "homeless" is included directly. I will check that for Deputy Coveney.

Ministerial Responsibilities

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin


5 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Taoiseach if he has exercised his powers under the Statistics Act, 1993, including his power under Section 25; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25346/10]

The principal powers assigned to me under the Statistics Act relate to the nomination of the Director General of the CSO, for appointment by the President, section 12(1), and the appointment of the National Statistics Board, section 18, which have been exercised as required since enactment of the legislation, and the making of orders under section 25 of the Act in respect of mandatory surveys. I will not go through all the surveys unless Deputy Ó Caoláin wishes. A dozen or so are included. From the point of view of saving time they will be circulated for the Deputy and included in the Official Report.

Additional information not given on the floor of the House

S.I. 909 of 2005: Statistics (Business Registers) Order 2005—

This regulation provides for the conduct of the CSO's annual survey of business demography. The primary purpose of the survey is to provide estimates of the number of enterprises and the number of persons engaged. It also provides information on the enterprise life cycle, that is, on the total number of enterprises on the business register, the number of new enterprises and closures. The business register, which is updated by this survey, is a central part of the CSO's overall system of business statistics.

S.I. 78 of 2008: Statistics (Census of Industrial Production) Order 2008—

All industrial enterprises with three or more employees are surveyed in the annual census of production. This census covers about 5,000 enterprises and is the main source of annual data on the structure of industry.

S.I. 314 of 2008: Statistics (Labour Costs Surveys) Order—

This relates to the collection of quarterly statistics on employment, earnings and hours worked from public and private sector employers — i.e. the earnings, hours and employment costs survey, EHECS. Information is collected from a sample of about 7,500 businesses and public sector organisations each month. Quarterly statistics comparing average earnings in each sector are based on this survey. The CSO has worked with payroll software companies to provide an electronic response option for this survey and in June 2010, the CSO reduced the number of questions in the survey. The shorter questionnaire and the electronic filing option will both reduce the burden on business of answering this survey.

S.I. 141 of 2008: Statistics (Outward Foreign Affiliates) Order 2008—

This is an annual survey of about 500 large Irish-based enterprises, to provide information on how businesses expand internationally. The main information collected relates to the foreign affiliate companies owned or controlled by the enterprise.

S.I. 77 of 2008: Statistics (Service Inquiries) Order 2008 and S.I. No 91 of 2010: Statistics (Service Inquiries) (Amendment) Order 2010—

These two orders relates to the collection of the annual services inquiry, which provides the main structural analysis of the distribution and services sector. A sample of 20,000 enterprises is surveyed. The CSO is working to reduce the burden on enterprises and will significantly reduce the number of small enterprises and sole traders asked to complete this survey. While it will still be necessary to conduct the annual services inquiry on a compulsory basis, most of the necessary information for very small enterprises will in future be obtained from administrative records. The EU Council regulation governing the annual services inquiry was replaced in 2009. SI 91/2010 is a technical amendment of the earlier SI 77/2008 to take on board the new EU regulation.

S.I. 313 of 2008: Statistics (Survey of Industrial Commodities Production) Order 2008—

This order relates to the annual collection of statistics on the quantity and net selling value of all goods manufactured in Ireland or outsourced abroad and sold in Ireland or throughout the world in the reference calendar year. Around 5,000 manufacturing enterprises with three or more full-time employees are surveyed each year in the PRODCOM inquiry. They survey provides a breakdown of manufacturing sector output, classified by product and industrial category. This is an important component in calculating national output.

S.I. 56 of 2009: European Communities (Statistics in respect of Carriage of Passengers Freight and Mail by Air) Regulations 2008—

This regulation provides for the collection by the CSO of monthly and annual data on passengers numbers and the volume of freight and mail arriving and departing in airports. It applies to all airports handling at least 15,000 passengers per year. The regulation enables the collection of data that are comparable, consistent and synchronised at European Community level.

S.I. 115 of 2009: Statistics (Building and Construction Inquiries) Order 2009—

This provides for the collection by the CSO of the annual building and construction inquiry. The information is collected from a total of about 4,600 enterprises and provides data on the structure of the building and construction sector. This data is required under the European Union's Structural Business Statistics Regulation (295/2008).

S.I. 73 of 2009: Statistics (Quarterly Survey of Construction) Order 2009—

This order provides for the collection of quarterly data from a sample of 2,400 enterprises in the construction sector. Information on the value of construction work done and the value of new contracts or orders obtained are collected each quarter. The purpose of the survey is to provide short-term indicators of economic activity in the construction sector. The survey also provides information required in the compilation of quarterly GDP and indicators required under the EU Short-term Statistics Regulation.

S.I. 103 of 2009: Statistics (Services Turnover) Order 2009—

This order provides for the collection of monthly turnover data from a sample of 2,500 enterprises in the services sector. The purpose of the survey is to provide short-term indicators of economic activity in the services sector. The survey also provides information used in the compilation of quarterly GDP and some indicators required under the EU Short-term Statistics Regulation.

S.I. 92 of 2010: Statistics (National Employment Survey) Order 2010—

This order provides for the collection of the annual national employment survey, NES. This survey covers businesses with three or more employees. Information is collected in respect of about 10,000 employers and 100,000 employees. This provides a valuable database on the structure and distribution of earnings, together with other data on the factors which influence wages and competitiveness. The CSO publishes a detailed report on the survey and has published comparative information on public and private sector earnings, based on the national employment survey.

S.I. 154 of 2010: Statistics (Monthly Industrial Inquiry) Order 2010—

The monthly industrial inquiry covers all companies with 20 or more employees that are involved in manufacturing or in the provision of industrial services. Data is supplied each month on turnover, value of new orders along with the quantity and net selling value for each product made. The monthly indices of industrial output and industrial turnover are compiled from this survey.

S.I. 181 of 2010: Statistics (Census of Agriculture) Order 2010—

This order provides for the collection of the census of agriculture in June 2010. The census covers all farms with an agricultural area used, AAU, of more than one hectare together with farms engaged in intensive production, for example, of pigs or poultry. The agricultural census takes place every ten years — the last one was in June 2000. A full response is necessary in order to count all farms. Over 150,000 questionnaires were issued in June. First results from the census of agriculture will be published in December.

S.I. 206 of 2010: Statistics (Balance of Payments) Order 2010—

This regulation provides for the collection by the CSO of monthly, quarterly or annual information on financial and other assets and liabilities as well as income and service flows from entities who are involved in the provision/receipt of goods, services or financial instruments to/from non-residents. The information is used to compile balance of payments, international investment position, foreign direct investment, international trade in services and financial accounts statistics and is also an important component in compiling the national accounts.

S.I. 207 of 2010: Statistics (Census of Population) Order 2010.

The census of population takes place every five years. Plans for the next census, on Sunday 10 April 2011, are at a very advanced stage. To carry out the census, the CSO is recruiting a temporary field force of 5,500 people, comprising 50 senior managers, 440 field supervisors and 5,000 census enumerators. The recruitment competition for the 440 field supervisors is currently under way and the vacancies for 5,000 census enumerators will be advertised by the CSO on the 29 December. Preliminary results from the census of population will be available in July 2011.

S.I. 349 of 2010 Statistics (Business Accounts Surveys) Order 2010—

This order provides for the collection by the CSO of quarterly information on opening and closing stocks, debtors and creditors, and the acquisition and disposal of capital assets by businesses. The information is collected from a sample of 2,000 enterprises and is an important component in compiling the national accounts.

I will not repeat what I said earlier. I apologise, through the Chair, for having failed to note that the grouping did not include Parliamentary Question No. 5. I thought it would have done. In any event, the critical focus is that there was a request made of the Taoiseach going back to last June and in the context of the statistics regarding child deaths in care under the stewardship of the Health Service Executive in order to secure full disclosure and accountability which we were all arguing for at the time. I understand section 25 does give this power to the Taoiseach of the day under the Statistics Act 1993. We already know the power was not exercised during the period including last June, but was consideration given to the particular proposition and if not, why not? Will the Minister of State clarify whether the power has been exercised in a number of instances that will be included in the full reply?

I will begin with the last point. There is a range of statutory instruments under section 25. I will outline the first to give the Deputy a flavour and the rest are included in the longer answer. SI 909 of 2005, the Statistics (Business Registers) Order 2005, is a regulation which provides for the conduct of the CSO's annual survey of business demography. The primary purpose of the survey is provide estimates of the number of enterprises and the number of persons engaged. It also provides information on the enterprise life cycle and the total number of enterprises on the business register and the number of new enterprises and closures. The business register which is updated by this survey is a central part of the CSO's overall system of business statistics.

That is one statutory instrument and there are a good number of others. If the Deputy wishes me to read them all into the record, I will do so.

In any case, they are included in the written reply.

The Deputy referred to section 25 of the Statistics Act 1993, which enables the Taoiseach to make orders making it mandatory for persons or undertakings surveyed by the CSO to provide information sought in the relevant survey. Such orders may also be made by the Minister of State with responsibility for the CSO. When an order under section 25 has been made by the Taoiseach or Minister of State, the CSO may direct persons or undertakings to provide the information in respect of the relevant survey.

The Deputy in his question made specific reference to the HSE in terms of scrutiny of child death records. What he seeks is not possible because the functions of the CSO under the Statistics Act 1993 relate solely to statistical purposes, and these functions do not extend to the scrutiny or assessment of administration by other public bodies. As any examination of the HSE information on child deaths would necessarily include scrutiny of administrative systems and practices, it would not be appropriate to ask the CSO, the sole role of which is confined to statistics, to carry out such an examination. Section 25 purely relates to statistical purposes and would not be appropriate in this regard.

Given the Minister for Health and Children is seated beside the Minister of State today, I note that we were at that time endeavouring to extract the full facts in regard to the statistics of child deaths in State care. As the Minister of State will recall, getting to the final figure proved to be a very vexatious process. In the context of establishing the statistics — the numbers, rather than any particular analysis of the facts that led to any and all of these tragic outcomes — this was the argument of the Children's Rights Alliance and a view with which I would have concurred. It is clear from the Minister of State's reply that no consideration was given to this means or method of acquiring the stated information, which is regrettable. The information subsequently did become available but I highlight that this is an area offering a means and method of address of problems such as this that might present in the future.

To reiterate in regard to the legislation, section 25 of the Statistics Act 1993 does not relate because it is specifically in regard to statistical purposes. Clearly, the type of information that is required here would require some scrutiny of administrative systems and practices but, in any event, the figures have been progressed separately in a different manner.