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Statistical Potential of Administrative Records: An Examination of Data Holdings in Six Government Departments


Central Statistics Office (CSO)

Subject Keywords: Social and Equality Statistics
Topic: Chronic Conditions
Catalogue: Data
Data Catalogues
Type: Report
Region: Republic of Ireland

Arising from the report of the National Statistics Board (NSB) on social and equality statistics, the Government requested the CSO to take a lead role in the development of the potential of administrative data across government departments and agencies in conjunction with the Senior Officials Group on Social Inclusion (SOGSI). The Government also decided that a formal data/statistics strategy be developed within each department as part of its information strategy; and that the NSB, supported by the CSO, should develop best practice guidelines for departments for the preparation and implementation of a formal data/statistics strategy. In response to the Government request, the CSO established teams to examine the statistical potential in six government departments and to prepare a report. The examination was designed to focus mainly on areas of social statistics and also to identify the potential additional value to be gained if some of the administrative data holdings could be integrated. This report should be considered to be a "working report" and reflects the interactions between the CSO teams and a selection of contacts in the six departments. Nevertheless, because some key issues are addressed and valuable recommendations made, the report is being made widely available and has also been released on the CSO website ( The intention is to continue the review of the potential for social statistics in a further three or four departments; and then to consider (with the NSB) the potential of administrative data for other fields of statistics. Chapters 2 to 7 of this report present the analyses and main recommendations of the teams in each of the six departments. Chapter 8 addresses some key issues which would facilitate the integration of data for statistical and analysis purposes across government departments and which would ultimately be of benefit to the public in the form of better policy responses and more cost-effective public administration. Among these important issues are the wider use of the Personal Public Service (PPS) Number; the benefits and efficiencies of using standard classifications and coding systems as widely as possible; the importance of structuring data to support the National Spatial Strategy and the provision of regional data generally. The report concludes in chapter 9 with a list of 21 recommendations; nine of which are specific to particular departments and twelve of which are of a cross-cutting nature to facilitate the development of a more comprehensive and integrated system of statistics across the public service. The recommendations are best understood in the context of the discussion in the various chapters.



Rights: © Central Statistics Office (CSO)
Suggested citation:

Central Statistics Office (CSO). (2003) Statistical Potential of Administrative Records: An Examination of Data Holdings in Six Government Departments [Online]. Available from: [Accessed: 17th August 2019].


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