The Cork-based Central Statistics Office (CSO) is appealing for people to help it to tell the story of Ireland and the effect COVID-19 is having on society.
As part of a new awareness campaign, ‘Because You Told Us,’ it is highlighting the importance of members of the public taking part in its surveys.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 100 CSO interviewers would have visited 30,000 households every three months to help gather information which helps inform decision-making across a range of areas including health, welfare, the environment and the economy.
However, this work has changed in recent months, and fieldwork is now being carried out by letter and telephone instead of face-to-face.
Response rates to surveys have fallen.
The CSO is now appealing to people to respond to its surveys.
Fiona O'Riordan, Head of Division - Social Collection at the CSO explained: “The information collected during this difficult time in particular will help us chart the changes taking place in our lives now so generations to come can understand the seismic shift our society is undergoing. The CSO understands the severe difficulties now being faced by everyone. We wish to thank all survey respondents for their support to date. However, it is only by collecting survey information that we will be able to report on the effects COVID-19 is having on our economy and society."
Ms O’Riordan said all of the survey submissions are confidential and personal details are never shared with any government departments or organisations.
Any letter people receive from the CSO in the post is printed on CSO headed paper, and there will include a unique reference code which can be verified with the interviewer.
The interviewer’s name and contact number will also be on the letters.
“We know some people might be afraid of divulging personal information or may fear a letter from us is a scam. To reassure the public, we always advise anyone who receives a survey request from us to ring us on our LoCall number 1890 252 293. We can then confirm the authenticity of our letter to you and explain that we will never, under any circumstances, share your personal information with anyone,” Ms O’Riordan said.