Salary overpayments of €4.6m to civil servants outstanding at the end of 2016
Salary overpayments to civil servants totalling €4.6m were outstanding at the end of 2016, the Dail’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has been told.
The committee was this morning probing the management of salary overpayments by the government’s National Shared Service Office (NSSO) which administers payroll, expenses, and pension payments for more than 100,000 civil and public servants.
The PAC heard how a report by State spending watchdog, the Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG), found that around 380 of the overpayment cases in 2016 – totalling 1.1m where outstanding for more than a year with no recovery plan in place.
The C&AG, Seamus McCarthy told TDs that some salary overpayments occur in any large and complex payroll system.
He said his office’s examination found that the majority of cases were caused by late notification of salary changes for staff by the NSSO’s client departments.
He said such changes could occur when a staff member goes on extended sick leave.
But he added: “Like any debt it’s important that salary overpayments are managed effectively and repayment arrangement put in place promptly”.
The C&AG report made recommendations on how the recovery process could be improved.
NSSO chief executive Hilary Murphy-Fagan said her organisation is “very aware of its responsibility for the stewardship of public monies”.
"When any overpayment occurs, the NSSO pursues the recovery of those monies as soon as possible in a standard way for all staff,” she added.
She said that the value of overpayments in 2016 amount to just 0.3pc of the overall paybill which confirms hat the remaining 99.7pc is being administered effectively.
“Of course we would like to eliminate all overpayments, but we do not operate in a perfect world where every pay impact is notified in time to administer prior to the payroll run,” she said.
Ms Murphy-Fagan said the NSSO has agreed to all of the recommendations in the C&AG’s report and has commenced their implementation.
She said that €2m in overpayments were collected in 2016 and the estimate for 2017 is higher.
Ms Murphy-Fagan said that following a review of the NSSO’s processes, she believers there will be a further reduction in the number and value of overpayments in 2018.