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What are administrative data?

Administrative data are information that is collected by other government departments and agencies for their own purposes, which is then used by CSO to efficiently accomplish its mandated objectives. CSO treats all data that can identify a person, a business or an organization with strict confidentiality.

Why is CSO using administrative data?

The Statistics Act, 1993 gives the CSO the authority to assess the statistical potential of the records maintained by other public authorities and to ensure that this potential is realised. The credibility and reputation of the CSO depends on maximising the value and utility of the data available to it, while at the same time protecting the confidentiality of the individual persons and businesses supplying the data.
The CSO uses administrative data solely for statistical purposes in line with the legal mandate of the Office as defined in the Statistics Act, 1993 namely: the collection, compilation, extraction and dissemination for statistical purposes of information relating to economic, social and general activities and conditions in the State.

What does CSO do with administrative data ?

CSO uses administrative data in its statistical programs to complement or replace survey data, to make its statistical operations more efficient or to create new insights or products. These data enable CSO to fill information needs about the Irish society, economy and environment, reduce response burden and costs imposed by surveys, and improve data quality and timeliness. All data obtained by CSO are used solely for statistical purposes.

What are the benefits of using administrative data?

Using administrative data reduces the amount of time you spend responding to surveys, while ensuring that CSO surveys and programs remain accurate, relevant and efficient. Over time, an increased use of administrative data would mean that you don’t need to be asked the same question multiple times for different purposes.
This is especially helpful to us in gathering data pertaining to topics that may be difficult or costly to obtain by survey, instead data can be brought together in a very safe and controlled way to enable analysis of the issue.

How is the information used safely?

Data is pseudonymised prior to any statistical analysis taking place. Pseudonymisation is a procedure by which identifying fields (i.e. identifiers, names, dates of birth and addresses) within a data record are replaced by one or more Protected Identifier Keys (PIK) to protect the privacy of individuals.

PIKs are used to link administrative data. A PIK is an encrypted or protected version of an identifier key such as the PPSN that enables CSO to link data across sources and over time without revealing any identification details to the statisticians undertaking any linking and analysis.

What data has the CSO brought together?

The CSO is committed to openness and transparency of all data linking projects.

CSO data linking projects are registered on the online Register of Data Matching Activities on

Does CSO disclose administrative data to other government departments or agencies?

No. All information obtained for statistical purposes is treated as strictly confidential and may only be accessed by Officers of Statistics. Statistical results may not disclose details of any identifiable person or business. Guaranteed by law under Section 33 of the Statistics Act, 1993.

What is the National Data Infrastructure ?

The core concept of the NDI involves the collection, maintenance and storage, on all public sector data holdings, of the associated PPSN, Eircode and Unique Business Identifier (UBI, to be developed) whenever they are relevant to Public Sector Body transactions with customers and support the development of targeted policy interventions. To achieve this requires the collecting of PPSN and home Eircodes in transactions with people, and UBI and business Eircodes in transactions with businesses.