The Central Statistics Office lacks a “proper” data collection system and needs an updated Statistics Act to function optimally, CSO Director Raymond Phillips told the Standing Finance Committee during its April deliberations, according to a report on the closed-door proceedings.

Mr. Phillips said the present system is manual, and that additional equipment and training will be needed for the 2020 census to collect data on tablets instead of paper.

The SFC report stated that Mr. Phillips spoke “at length” about the difficulties of obtaining information when conducting surveys, and noted that while the CSO was in the field conducting a standard-of-living survey at the time it would not meet its target of 1,000 surveys by June.

Third District Representative Julian Fraser spoke in support of the office: He said he was dissatisfied with the results he had received from the statistics department and “opined” that something had to be done, noting the importance of statistics for government planning, according to the SFC report.

In response to a suggestion from Junior Minister for Tourism Shereen Flax-Charles that people were not aware of the CSO’s surveys, Mr. Phillips added that the office does public relations campaigns before every survey and any other data collection activity.

He added that the CSO already had used television and radio to spread the word, but said he would welcome any suggestions or ideas to spread the information further.