New shared services platform expected to realise savings of €15.4m each year

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe, TD, today (Friday 30th) announced that the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform has taken a significant step towards the modernisation of Government financial management administration.

The Minister confirmed that the development of a new finance technology solution for Government has begun. The introduction of a single finance technology platform will replace 31 existing finance systems across Government departments and offices, and facilitate transaction processing in the Financial Management Shared Service Centre.

Earlier this year the Government approved the creation of a Financial Management Shared Service Centre as part of the overall Public Service Reform Programme. This shared service centre will use the new single financial management system to serve Government departments and public service bodies.

When fully established the centre is expected to deliver annual savings to the exchequer of approximately 33%, estimated at €15.4 million per annum. This will be achieved through a reduction in the cost of support for existing finance technology and a reduction of approximately 25% in the number of staff required to carry out finance administration.

Supporting the transformation in the administration of Government financial management, Minister Donohoe said: ‘The future vision for the Government’s finance function is one of modernisation and professionalism delivered through shared services and based on a single financial management system’.

“This new system will operate using standardised finance processes and common accounting definitions. It will enable finance teams to focus on strategic improvements that will enhance decision making as a result of more in-depth analysis of expenditure and public finances.”

The new centre will deliver significant improvements in the efficiency and effectiveness of the Government’s finance function. It will have greater flexibility and strategic capability to respond to new and emerging requirements in a more consistent, timely and cost-effective manner.

When fully operational, the Financial Management Shared Service Centre will process approximately 625,000 invoices, and account for in excess of €50bn in gross expenditure.

Emphasising the future benefits for financial management across the Civil Service, Robert Watt, Secretary General of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, said: “The Financial Management Shared Service Centre, supported by standardised processes, will provide significant opportunities to reduce costs and improve financial controls, while providing better financial data analysis and insights to support informed decision making.”

Following an extensive procurement process, a contract has been awarded to Accenture to build a new single finance technology platform (Oracle Technology) and implement a ‘best in class’ financial management system. Estimated to take four years to complete, the contract, valued at approximately €30 million, includes all the licensing required, as well as the design, build and implementation of the new system, and the managed service provision and ICT support it will require.

The Department of Finance, the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and the Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General will be some of the first organisations to be served by the new Financial Management Shared Service Centre.

Minister Donohoe went on to say: “There has been extensive engagement and consultation between all the Government departments who are working together to deliver the Financial Management Shared Service Centre. Both my own Department and the Department of Finance are joint sponsors of the project.”

The Financial Management Shared Service Centre will be staffed and managed by civil servants and it will be based in existing shared services offices in Galway, Tullamore and Killarney. It will operate under the governance of the National Shared Services Office (NSSO).

ENDS

Notes to the Editor:

  • Shared services, led by the National Shared Services Office within the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, is a central component of the Government’s reform programme.
  • There are two existing shared service centres in the Civil Service; within the NSSO there is PeoplePoint, which provides HR and pensions administration for 34,500 Civil Servants; and the Payroll Shared Service Centre, which administers payroll and related payments for 98,000 payees, including 57,000 pensioners.
  • The implementation of the Financial Management Shared Service Centre will:
  • Establish a framework to deliver new and emerging requirements, including a common chart of accounts and accruals accounting, with the capacity to support e-invoicing and e-procurement.
  • Provide better financial information and insights to support more informed decision-making within Government departments and public service bodies, and across central Government.
  • Reduce costs, improve performance and increase financial control through sharing resources and standardising processes on common technology.
  • Improve resilience and sustainability of the financial management system by consolidating capability and building capacity.
  • Refocussing finance functions within Government departments and public service bodies to focus on higher value-adding activities.