I take my statutory function of Accounting Officer of An Garda Síochána seriously. I am strongly focused on ensuring that the public money invested in us is spent efficiently, effectively and appropriately. As an organisation with a €1.7 billion annual budget, it is vital that we collectively demonstrate that we are providing value for money. For me, that means maximising our policing impact for the benefit of the public within the budget given to us by Government. It is also critical that we spend public money in line with accounting and governance best practice.
I am strongly of the view that our budget is our budget. Since I became Commissioner in September of last year I have continually stressed to managers at all levels of the organisation the need for us to stay within our budget. This can best be seen in the reduction in discretionary and administrative overtime spend in last three months of 2018, a move which achieved substantial savings for the Exchequer. The savings achieved by these measures have carried forward into 2019 as the actual spend for the first quarter of €21.7 million is some €6 million less than the corresponding quarter in 2018. While we are largely on target for overtime spend, it requires constant monitoring and vigilance to ensure there is no slippage. I met senior managers last week to stress this point to them again. Even yesterday, I discussed budget matters with the Association of Garda Superintendents and Inspectors at length. While these controls have had an impact on the delivery of policing, overtime is still available, especially for specific policing and security operations around organised crime and violent dissident republicans.
The introduction of mandatory 15 minute parading time is a significant proportion of the Garda overtime budget and is a fixed cost that I have no influence over at the moment. For example, in 2019 approximately €22 million of our overtime budget of €95 million will be spent on the 15 minute parading time. This effectively means that our real operational budget is only €73 million. There is also overtime associated with Garda members securing and attending courts, securing prisoners and escorting people from the country. Again, these are regarded as non-discretionary activities.
In any event, for the proportion under our control we must ensure we stay within budget. This means making hard choices and decisions. For the 2017 accounts, and specifically the significant overspend on overtime in that year, there are several factors that contributed to this, such as the aforementioned mandatory 15 minute parading time as well as the major 24-7 policing resources required to protect lives and communities as a result of the outbreak of the vicious and ongoing gangland feuds.
I fully accept the findings of the Comptroller and Auditor General and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform to the effect that the 2017 overspend on overtime is not sustainable and demonstrated the need for stronger controls and governance as well as the requirement for modem systems to monitor same. In addition to the controls we have already put in place we will address these issues through a number of additional measures. The introduction of a roster and duty management system, which is being piloted in a Dublin division and will start rolling out across the organisation later this year, will improve our ability to plan, control and manage the deployment of personnel and consequently the expenditure on overtime. This should result in savings in overtime through more effective and efficient resource allocation. The full roll-out of this programme will not occur until the end of 2020. Our new divisional policing model, which is currently being piloted in four divisions, includes a greater investment in Garda staff with financial expertise who can provide local management with better information and data on their overtime and other expenditure. Our workforce plan will advance workforce modernisation and see us deploy our personnel where they are needed most, again leading to operational efficiencies.
Information and communications technology initiatives such as our investigation management system, which has started to roll-out, and our mobility project, which this year will enable approximately 2,000 gardaí to access Garda systems remotely, will reduce the time gardaí have to spend on paperwork and focus their times on policing activity. The mobility project, in particular, can allow network connection to systems and, therefore, decrease the time spend in stations. We have also committed in our 2019 policing plan to establishing a framework to provide for multi-annual budgeting and delegated sanctions. Again, this will make it easier for local management to plan resource deployment based on the budgets available to them.
We have been provided with a large amount of taxpayers' money. All of us in An Garda Síochána have a duty to ensure this is spent wisely for the benefit of the public. We are a public service and our spending should be focused on the public good in keeping people safe.