Minister Hayes announces – Half a million public service invoices to be eliminated

Procurement Minister, Mr. Brian Hayes TD, announced today the launch of the Framework for the Supply of Purchasing Cards to the Irish public sector.

Following a competitive process the two successful suppliers of these cards were named as Ulster Bank Ireland Limited and Bank of Ireland. The primary aim of these purchasing cards is to reduce the cost of processing the significant number of low value invoices that come in to State bodies on a daily basis. This Framework Agreement will target up to €200 million of State expenditure which currently involves the processing of some half a million invoices with an average value of €350.

The Minister said “the use of purchasing cards will eliminate the need to process individual low value invoices as they will be consolidated into a single monthly electronic statement, supported by detailed reports, leading to real and substantive administrative efficiencies”.

Through the use of purchasing cards in the public sector, receipt of payments by suppliers will be accelerated to less than four days. This will be a major boost for the Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) sector as improved cash flow is critical to their day-to-day operations.

The Minister went on to say; “I look forward to working with both Ulster Bank and Bank of Ireland in what I expect will be a mutually beneficial relationship. The Purchasing Card Framework Agreement ticks many of the boxes as far as Government Policy is concerned. For example, the SME sector will be assisted through the improvement of their cash flow and it will also help address many efficiency and cost reduction objectives of the Public Sector Reform Agenda “.

The Framework is available to the entire non-commercial public sector, including; Central Government Departments and Offices, non-commercial state agencies, local authorities, the health sector, the education sector, An Garda Síochána, the Defence Forces, the Irish Prison Service and the National Lottery Company.

The Framework Agreement will be in place for two years with an option to extend it for a further two years to a maximum of four years.

This Framework Agreement will:
Generate savings through the reduction of administrative processes,
Enable the re-deployment of public service staff, and
Help maintain services with existing resources that otherwise would not be delivered
The Minister concluded by saying; This framework will generate cost reductions and deliver efficiencies by providing a more efficient back-office solution that directly reduces the number of payment processes required, thereby facilitating staff redeployments to critical front line positions, directly benefiting the taxpayers and public service users throughout this country”.
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For further information and if you wish to interview Minister of State Hayes please contact
Colette Davis, OPW Press Officer at 046 9426128, 087 9475552 or
Note for Editors on Purchasing Cards:
Purchasing cards work on the same principle as credit cards and can be accepted by all credit card enabled suppliers (merchants) in the State. Purchasing cards can be locked down to certain merchant category groups and a card manager in each public sector body decides on which staff members shall have access to a purchasing card and which merchant category groups they shall be able to purchase from. The purchasing cards offer additional security controls such as weekly spend limits for users and cost limitations on individual purchases.
At present, most public sector bodies spend a significant amount of their time processing low value invoices. This is inefficient and consumes a considerable amount of staff resources. A purchasing card programme will eliminate a lot of the processes for low value transactions while at the same time improving security and accountability. Purchasing cards bring both efficiencies and transparency to low value transactions. In addition, card programmes are supported by sophisticated back-office software solutions that can provide very detailed management information reports.

An extensive programme will be initiated by the National Procurement Service to promote the wide scale use of these cards across the Irish Public Service.