Thursday, 12 December 2019

Questions (145)

Niall Collins

Question:

145. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the number of credit cards issued to Ministers and officials working in her Department; the amount spent on credit cards in each year since 2016; the bank interest paid on credit cards in each year since 2016; the controls in place to monitor the issuing of and the expenditure on the cards; the controls in place in each agency to monitor expenditure on personally held credit card bills that are subsequently used to recoup work-related expenses; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [52395/19]

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Written answers (Question to Business)

The Ministers of my Department have not been issued with credit cards. The Department itself operates a total of three credit cards. These cards have been issued to named senior officials whose areas of responsibility may involve the on-line purchase of goods and services required by the Department.. There are defined procedures for the use of the Department's credit cards. These procedures stipulate that purchases of goods or services by means of the Department's credit card must be properly approved and in accordance with prescribed authorisation procedures and relevant procurement rules.

Expenditure on the Department's credit cards is monitored and reconciled on a monthly basis by my Department's Finance Unit. All items of expenditure by my Department, including expenditure by means of the Departmental credit cards, is subject to audit by the Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General.

Since 2016 to-date, a total of €68,830.32 has been spent on the Department's three cards broken down as follows:

2016

2017

2018

2019

€10,171.89

€20,466.55

€20,970.95

€17,220.93

The total bank charges paid in that period was €1.18.

As regards the recoupment of work- related expenses on personally held credit cards , all expense claims , including the aforementioned recoupments , are subject to normal verification and authorisation processes, including approval by an officer than the claimant.

The use of credit cards in the Department's Agencies is an operational matter for the Agencies concerned. Information on the use of credit cards by our Agencies is not routinely collected by my Department. The Department does, however, have Oversight Performance and Delivery Agreements in place with all its Agencies as required by the Code of Practice for the Governance of State Bodies and these oblige the Agencies to comply with the Department's requirements in relation to financial management, monitoring and control. Such requirements are underpinned by Guidelines on Public Financial Procedures published by the Minister for Public Expenditure & Reform.

I am satisfied that there are robust controls in place in relation to the use of credit cards in my Department and that the Agencies of the Department are fully aware of the need to ensure that such controls are also in place in relation to the use of credit cards in their respective organisations.