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  • Page 1 Background and Context

    Guidelines on the provision of methodological advice on statistical classifications concerning Government Finance Statistics and the Excessive Deficit Procedure

  • Page 2 Background and Context

    Published by the Central Statistics Office, Ireland, May 2018

    Guidelines on the provision of methodological advice on statistical classifications concerning Government Finance Statistics and the Excessive Deficit Procedure

  • Background and Context

    Table Of Contents

    Section 1 Background and Context page 11. Introduction page 22. Role of the CSO page 33. Role of the Government Finance

    Statistics Liaison Committee page 34. Role of Eurostat page 4

    Section 2 Ex-Ante and Ex-Post Methodological Advice page 55. Ex-Post Methodological Advice page 66. Ex-Ante Methodological Advice page 66.1 General requests for advice page 66.2 Major Capital Projects including

    Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) and Concessions page 7

    Section 3 Decision making and communication page 87. Decision-making process page 97.1 Informal consultation page 97.2 Records of engagement during

    ex-ante classification process page 97.3 Formal submissions page 97.4 Confidentiality of material supplied page 108. CSO assessment page 109. Submission to Eurostat page 1010. Timeframes page 1111. Reporting and publication

    of classification decisions page 11

    Appendix 1 Department of Finance Statistical Queries Form page 12

    Appendix 2 Footnotes and Hyperlinks page 16

  • Page 1 Background and Context

    Background and Context

    Section 1

  • Background and ContextPage 2

    1. IntroductionUnder Council Regulation (EC) No. 479/20091 as amended by Council Regulation 679/20102, and Commission Regulation (EU) No. 220/20143 the Central Statistics Office (CSO) is responsible for the official reporting of historic data for the Excessive Deficit Procedure (EDP) notification for Ireland, including the General Government Surplus/Deficit/Balance (GGB), Debt (GGDebt) and other Government Finance Statistics (GFS) such as government revenue and expenditure. The Department of Finance is responsible for the preparation of the forecast of the GGB and GGDebt for the current year of the EDP notification.

    The legally binding accounting rules4 which must be used by all EU countries for producing these statistics are those of the European System of Accounts 2010 (ESA 2010)5. The Manual on Government Debt and Deficit (MGDD)6 provides further guidance on the implementation of ESA 2010 when reporting GFS.

    A key part of the compilation of EDP and GFS data is the definition of the general government sector on which these statistics are based, and the correct classification of transactions by and with government. This classification work is essential to ensure the correct reporting of GFS for Ireland. In its conduct of this work the CSO may review the classification of any institution or any transaction which is considered relevant. Such a review may be ex-ante (before the establishment of a new body or before a transaction is carried out), or ex-post (after the fact). Only ex-post decisions which have been made on the basis of full information and accepted as valid by Eurostat under the prevailing standards may be considered final. Classification reviews may be undertaken by CSO acting on its own initiative, in response to a query from another government department or agency, or following a request by Eurostat.

    The purpose of this document is to provide an overview of key considerations in making classification decisions; to set out the role of the CSO, the Department of Finance, and Eurostat; to describe the procedures involved in this work; and to give indicative timescales for the decision-making process.

    1 EC Council Regulation 479/20092 EC Council Regulation 679/20103 EU Commission Regulation 220/20144 EU Regulation 549/20135 Eurostat Manuals on GFS6 MGDD

  • Background and ContextPage 3

    2. Role of the CSOThe CSO, as Irelands National Statistical Institute (NSI), is an independent Office with responsibility for producing robust official statistics. The independence of the Director General in the exercise of his/her functions relating to the statistical methodology and professional statistical standards used by the Office; the content of statistical releases and publications issued by the Office; and the timing and methods of dissemination of statistics compiled by the Office is established under Section 13 of the Statistics Act, 19937.

    Regulation (EC) No. 223/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 March 2009 on European statistics8 (as amended 2015) assigns responsibility for the co-ordination of all European statistics to the NSI and states that the NSI shall be the contact point for the Commission (Eurostat) on statistical matters (Article 5).

    The CSO does not engage in policy formulation and the Office cannot provide advice on how bodies and transactions should be structured. The CSOs role in any consultation on classifications are confined to: explanation and clarification of the legally binding rules of ESA 2010 as well as the guidance set out in the MGDD and other Eurostat guidance notes; and acting as the national contact point with Eurostat.

    3. Role of the Government Finance StatisticsLiaison Committee

    The Department of Finance and the Central Bank of Ireland act as co-compilers of GFS data in co-operation with the CSO. The arrangements for this work are set out in a Memorandum of Understanding in relation to Government Finance Statistics between the CSO and the Department of Finance9. Along with the Terms of Reference of the Government Finance Statistics Liaison Committee (GFSLC)10, this clarifies the roles and responsibilities and as the areas of cooperation between the CSO and the Department of Finance relating to GFS.

    In relation to statistical classification decisions, proposals from other public bodies for the establishment of new initiatives (bodies, transactions etc.) are generally communicated to the CSO via the Statistics Unit of the Department of Finance (see procedures section below).

    7 Statistics Act, 1993 8 EC Council Regulation 223/20099 Memorandum of Understanding10 GFSLC Terms of Regulation

  • Background and ContextPage 4

    4. Role of EurostatRegulation (EC) No. 223/2009, as amended, sets out the role of Eurostat as the Community Statistical Authority to coordinate the statistical activities of the institutions and bodies of the Community, in particular with a view to ensuring consistency and quality of the data and minimising reporting burden (Article 6(3)). Under Council Regulation (EC) No. 479/2009, as amended, Eurostat are responsible for assessing the quality and adherence to standards of EDP data reported to them (Article 8(1)), and may place a reservation on, or amend the data reported to them by member states where the data is deemed not to be in line with the required standards of ESA 2010 (Article 15).

    Eurostat will provide both ex-ante and ex-post classification advice on EDP matters to member states through the NSI. The procedures and related timeframes for obtaining such advice are set out in the guidelines on Eurostats ex-ante and ex-post advice (clarifications and decisions) on methodological issues11. The procedures set out in this note take account of these guidelines.

    11 Eurostat guidelines for the provision of advice on methodological issues

  • Page 5 Background and ContextPage 5

    Ex-Ante and Ex-Post Methodological Advice

    Section 2

  • Ex-Ante and Ex-Post Methodological AdvicePage 6

    5. Ex-Post Methodological AdviceWhere a classification decision is in relation to an existing body or transaction the initiative for a review usually comes from the CSO or Eurostat.

    The CSO may review the classification of particular bodies or transactions as a result of new or clarified guidance from Eurostat or as a result of new information received. The compilation of the Register of Public Bodies which is updated annually by the CSO is one mechanism through which a review of the classification of a particular body may be undertaken. The composition of this register is not static. Government controlled bodies are established, closed and merged over time. The market/non-market status of bodies must be continually reviewed. New legislation or government decisions may also impact on classification decisions and give rise to the need for a review.

    Eurostat may request the CSO to review an existing classification due to discussions of a particular case or as part of a general review of arrangements in EU memb