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CSO statistical release, , 11am

Response Burden Barometer


Administrative Burden, actual compliance (Response Burden Barometer)1147.0136.0144.498.090.7100.091.992.490.387.286.784.1
1 Base Year updated to year 2013 from year 2005
2 2010 figures reflect the decennial Census of Agriculture

Response burden on businesses decreases by 3% in 2019.

Figure 1: Response Burden Index,2013=100
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The Response Burden Barometer (RBB) for 2019 continued in the relatively stable pattern that has been evident in the last five years, dropping slightly from the previous record low recorded in 2018.

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.

Changes to the burden 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 2 to 3 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. 

There was a 3% decrease in burden between 2018 and 2019. The cost to business of this burden was €3.86 million in 2019, down by €120,200 from 2018. See Tables 1 & 2.

For main headline figures, see Methodology

The latest estimate is that there are 485,700 active business enterprises (including the latest Farm Population figure) in Ireland. In the course of the 2019 surveys to these enterprises, the CSO issued 303,400 surveys forms, or an average of 0.62 survey forms per enterprise. There were 196,200 forms returned as partially or wholly completed, representing an average of 0.40 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 compliance1), then the total number of hours spent by business in 2019 was 218,600, or 27.0 minutes per business. The administrative cost2, measured on 2013 prices, of actual compliance was €6.4 million, or €13.17 per enterprise. The administrative burden (i.e. administrative costs less business-as-usual costs), was €3.86 million, or €7.94 per enterprise. See Table 2 & Infographic 

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 2019 would have been 270,000, or an average of 33.4 minutes per enterprise. The administrative cost of full compliance would have been €8.4 million, or €17.29 per enterprise. The corresponding administrative burden would have been €5.1 million, or €10.43 per enterprise. See Table 2 & Methodology. 

The most burdensome survey in 2019 was the Trade Intrastat Imports survey, which is conducted jointly with Revenue, issued 47,100 forms, of which 43,200 were returned partially or wholly completed. The full compliance administrative costs of completing all Trade Intrastat Imports forms in 2019 were €2.6 million, while the actual compliance administrative costs were €2.4 million.

Of the purely CSO surveys, the most burdensome was the Balance of Payments survey, with a cost of €593,800 for the returns made in 2019. See Statbank Tables. 

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  for further details.