A report by the Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG) has highlighted difficulties in the rollout of a new shared financial management system for the public sector.
The report said that by the end of last year €62 million had been spent on the financial management shared services (FMSS) system, representing two thirds of its revised budget.
The C&AG's Report on the Accounts of the Public Service 2022 said delivery of the new system is behind schedule and less comprehensive in scope than had been envisaged.
It also said the National Shared Services Office (NSSO) delivering the project does not have a revised spending projection for the completed project.
However, the accounting officer for it has stated it is expected the project will stay in budget.
According to the report the FMSS programme was launched in 2016 with a proposed budget of €47.4m and was to be delivered within four-years.
But in 2020, the Government approved an increase in the budget to approximately €95m and the timeline for completion of the project was extended to 2025.
The report said that the memo underpinning the Government decision to increase funding and extend the timeline of implementation of FMSS did not include a detailed schedule of how the NSSO would achieve the delivery of the programme by 2025.
However, the report said it did include an indicative timeline of the funding requirements.
The C&AG said the FMSS Programme Board overseeing the project has repeatedly sought a full project timeline, but the NSSO has not succeeded in presenting one.
A rollout among a small group of clients commenced in November 2021 and was completed by April 2022 - about four months after the scheduled completion, the report stated.
According to the C&AG, the NSSO now expects the timeline for full delivery of the FMSS programme to go beyond 2025, with the rollout to wave two clients scheduled to be completed by the end of 2024.
The report also found that in the six months after rollout of the first wave of FMSS, most of the users formally expressed their dissatisfaction with elements of the system's performance and functionality.
"In September 2022, the Department of Finance paused the transfer of financial management of the Central Fund of the Exchequer to the FMSS due to concerns regarding the system's capacity to meet the Department of Finance's specific reporting requirements for the Exchequer," the report said.
"The transfer remains suspended."
The C&AG said the NSSO has acknowledged the users' comments but noted some of the issues raised were resolved quickly.