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CSO statistical release, 21 September 2017, 11am

Response Burden Barometer


Administrative Burden, actual compliance (Response Burden Barometer)1147.0136.0144.498.090.7100.091.992.490.3
1 Base Year updated to year 2013 from year 2005
2 2010 figures reflect the decennial Census of Agriculture

Burden on businesses continues to fall

Figure 1 : Response Burden Index, 2013=100
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The Response Burden Barometer (RBB) for 2016 reduced by 38.6% when measured against the peak year of 2008.

The RBB is a measure of the total administrative burden placed on Irish enterprises and agricultural holdings by Central Statistics Office (CSO) surveys when calculated on an actual compliance basis1.

There was a fall of 2.3% in burden between 2015 and 2016. This can be largely attributed to a reduced number of forms issued in the Trade Intrastat Imports survey. Other factors include natural fluctuation with enterprises entering and leaving the survey population over the course of the year, and variation in response expected. As some surveys such as the Farm Structure Survey (every two to three years) and the Census of Agriculture (every ten years), don't take place every year, care needs to be taken when comparing the RBB from one year to that of the previous year. Improved data and development of methodologies also contribute to variation within the RBB. The cost to business of this burden was €4.15 million in 2016. See Tables 1 & 2.

The latest estimate is that there are 461,300 active business enterprises (including the latest Farm Population figure) in Ireland. In the course of 2016, the CSO issued 365,400 forms, or an average of 0.79 survey forms per enterprise. There were 247,600 forms returned as partially or wholly completed, representing an average of 0.54 forms per enterprise. See Table 2.

If burden is measured on the basis of partially or fully completed survey forms actually returned to the CSO (i.e. if burden is based on actual compliance), then the total number of hours spent by business in 2016 was 218,100, or 28.4 minutes per business. The administrative cost, measured on 2013 prices2, of actual compliance was €6.9 million, or €14.90 per enterprise. The administrative burden (i.e. administrative costs less business-as-usual costs) of actual compliance in 2016 was €4.15 million, or €8.99 per enterprise.2 See Measurement Methodology & Table 2.   

If all survey forms issued by the CSO were partially or wholly completed and returned (i.e. if there had been full compliance) then the total number of hours spent on this task by enterprises in Ireland in 2016 would have been 261,400, or an average of 34 minutes per enterprise. The administrative cost of full compliance would have been €8.7 million, or €18.92 per enterprise. The administrative burden of full compliance would have been €5.3 million, or €11.41 per enterprise. See Measurement Methodology & Table 2.

The most burdensome survey in 2016 was the Trade Intrastat Imports survey, which issued 40,100 forms, of which 39,900 were returned partially or wholly completed. The administrative costs of completing all Trade Intrastat Imports forms in 2016 were €2.2 million. Of the purely CSO surveys, the full compliance administrative costs of the June Agriculture Survey (which in 2016 included the Farm Structure Survey) were €770,000 in 2016, while the actual compliance administrative costs were €509,300.

1Actual compliance basis : calculated on a time and cost basis of fully or partially completed returns to the CSO. This is the preferred method of the European Statistical System for calculating the Response Burden Barometer level.

2The hourly administrative cost figure used in the calculations for non-Trade surveys was €44.00 (based on 2013 figures). For Trade surveys, the administrative cost figure was based on their 2013 Response Burden Survey. The administrative burden of CSO Surveys was 60.32% of the administrative costs figure. Please see Methodology for further details.