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Minimising survey response burden

Notwithstanding the ever-growing international demand for statistics (from organisations such as the European Commission, the European Central Bank, the United Nations, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, etc.), minimising the administrative burden placed on CSO business respondents is, and has been for many years, a corporate priority of the CSO. (See the CSO Statement of Strategy 2020 - 2030 (PDF 651KB) ) The CSO has taken, and continues to take, a number of actions towards this end. Amongst these actions are: 

  • Increased use of administrative data (especially from the Revenue Commissioners), reducing the need to collect information from enterprises;
  • Reduction of sample sizes where possible;
  • Reduction of the level of detail collected on questionnaires across a number of surveys;
  • Introduction of short annual forms for small enterprises, with the more detailed forms being sent to the larger enterprises only;
  • Re-design of questionnaires to align as far as possible with Profit & Loss and Balance Sheet accounts entries;
  • Increased use of electronic rather than paper forms;
  • Working with software companies to incorporate functionality into payroll software programs which automatically extracts and completes almost all of the requirements of the Earnings, Hours and Employment Costs Survey and a large portion of the requirements of the National Employment Survey.

In the case of Ireland, it should be noted that most, but not all, government statistical inquiries are conducted by the CSO, and that almost all CSO surveys are driven by EU legislation with limited scope for national interpretation during implementation. The above actions have been possible within the structures of the governing EU legislation.