Thursday, 12 December 2019

Questions (80)

Niall Collins


80. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the number of credit cards issued to Ministers and officials working in his 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 he will make a statement on the matter. [52407/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Public)

The number of credit cards in operation in my Department, the amounts paid by credit card for goods and services and the bank interest charged is set out in the table below.

I would highlight for the Deputy that in 2019, for example, 94% of the expenditure by credit card was by the Office of the Government Chief Information Officer (OGCIO) paying for ICT services online. The OGCIO delivers cross-government ICT services, infrastructure, support and development.

At present, neither Minister of State O'Donovan nor I have a Department of Public Expenditure and Reform credit card or purchase card.




2019 *

Number of Credit Cards in operation





Goods, Services and ICT costs paid by Credit Card





Bank Interest paid on Credit Cards





* excluding Purchase Cards

The issuing and expenditure thresholds and the monitoring of Departmental credit cards is governed by an Office Notice on "Application and Guidelines for use of Official Credit Cards".

In relation to controls in place to monitor expenditure on personally held credit cards to recoup work related expenses, officials in my Department must use the National Shared Service’s Office’s Travel and Subsistence system to seek reimbursement for costs incurred by them while travelling for work. The daily and overnight subsistence rates that can be claimed by officials for the purpose of work travel are set out in the Department’s circulars. Any use of personally held credit cards for other work purposes only occurs in exceptional circumstances and the official in question must supply the receipt or invoice for the goods or services procured on behalf of the State on their own card for reimbursement. In relation to the controls in place in this regard in bodies under aegis of the Department, I wish to advise the Deputy that a deferred reply will be issued to him in respect of this aspect of the Parliamentary Question, in line with Standing Order 42A.

Finally, the Deputy may also be interested to note that my Department is in the process of closing its traditional credit card accounts in order to modernise how it pays suppliers. It is currently replacing these with a purchase card system, which utilises enhanced payments technology in its daily operations. This is a new way of working for my Department that is enhancing staff productivity as this system is safely eliminating cumbersome manual processes for low value invoices, thereby freeing up staff time to be spent on the Department’s core public service mission.