This Code of Practice applies to all information collected by the CSO whether directly in compulsory (statutory) and voluntary statistical inquiries or indirectly from the administrative records of other public authorities.
The information collected by the CSO is used only for statistical purposes.
The confidentiality of information relating to identifiable persons and undertakings is protected at all stages of statistical operations: collection, storage, processing, and dissemination.
The computer files that contain the results of surveys do not, in general, contain the names or addresses of respondents. Limited exceptions are made, however, when there are strong statistical reasons for doing so.
In the case of external trade statistics the CSO will, on the request of any importer or exporter, suppress the publication of information that reveals details of its business (the passive confidentiality approach).
Stringent precautions are actively taken in disseminating all other statistical results to ensure that particulars relating to identifiable persons or undertakings are neither directly nor inadvertently disclosed, and that any disclosure of individual information is made only with the written permission of the data provider concerned (the active confidentiality approach). For example, in the case of business statistics, published information is based on a minimum number of three respondents and then only when one or two enterprises do not have too dominant a share of the total.
Office and field staff appointed to the CSO sign a Declaration of Secrecy specified in the Statistics Act, 1993 and are fully instructed on their obligations to protect the confidentiality of any identifiable information to which they have access.
High security is maintained on the CSO computer network. Authorised access within the Office to computer files containing confidential data is strictly limited and controlled by a system of personal/section passwords that are regularly updated.
Information relating to identifiable persons or undertakings may only be provided to a non-CSO person or body in the limited cases specified in the Statistics Act, 1993.
Confidential information is transferred in anonymous form to the Statistical Office of the EU (Eurostat) for the compilation of aggregate Community statistics under the protective provisions of Regulation (EC) No 223/2009 as amended by Regulation (EU) No 2015/759. Under further European and Irish legislation, non-anonymised Balance of Payments related statistical microdata may be transmitted by the CSO to the European Central Bank.
The EuroGroups Register (EGR) aims to improve the quality of multinational enterprise group information by allowing compilers of statistics to produce statistics on the basis of Europe-wide shared and coordinated information. The legal basis for the EGR is provided by Regulations (EC) No 177/2008 and (EC) No 223/2009. Confidential non-anonymised data on multinational enterprise groups and their constituent units that are contained in the EuroGroups Register is transferred from the CSO to Eurostat, and from Eurostat to the national statistical authorities in each Member State. Under further European and Irish legislation, this data may be transmitted by Eurostat to the European Central Bank, to the central banks of Member States. This data is transmitted under the conditions that it is used exclusively for statistical purposes, and that it is treated as confidential in accordance with Community provisions.
The Director General requires Heads of Division to confirm annually the steps taken within their Divisions to ensure ongoing compliance with this Code of Practice.