Thursday, 12 December 2019

Ceisteanna (57)

Niall Collins


57. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Finance 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. [52402/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

In response to the Deputy’s question, information relating to the first three points contained in the Parliamentary Question are presented in tabular form below:

Department of Finance





No. of Credit Cards issued to Ministers and Officials working in Department





The amount spent on Credit Cards





The Bank Interest paid on Credit Cards





The issuing and expenditure thresholds and the monitoring of Departmental credit cards is governed by (a) The Department of Finance’s Office Notice no. 9 of 2009 “Application and Guidelines for use of Official Credit Cards” and (b) the associated Revised Expenditure Approval Procedures as set out in the Department’s Office Notice no. 2 of 2013 which was issued by the Secretary General of the Department (copies attached).

The final element of your question relates to “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”.

There are 17 bodies under the aegis of my Department. For 4 of these bodies, the issue of work-related expenditure incurred on personally held credit cards does not arise. These are the Credit Union Advisory Committee (CUAC), Credit Union Restructuring Board (ReBo), Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC) and the Irish Financial Services Appeals Tribunal (IFSAT).

CUAC is an advisory committee set up to advise the Minister on credit union matters and therefore has no staff by whom credit card claims would be made. ReBo has been wound down since mid-2017 and is awaiting completion of legislation to formally dissolve the entity and therefore has no staff by whom credit card claims would be made. IBRC has one remaining staff member for whom there is no requirement to incur work-related expenditure on their personal credit card. IFSAT does not have any employees and therefore, the issue of expenditure on work-related expenses does not arise.

The remaining 13 bodies have provided the following in relation to work-related expenditure incurred on personally held credit cards bills and that are subsequently recouped:

Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General

Use of personal credit cards for business purposes has to be pre-approved by senior management (Deputy Director (PO equivalent) or higher). A recoupment claim can only be submitted on receipt of goods/services purchased, has to be signed by the budget holder and approved for payment by the relevant Deputy Director. Itemised receipts listing all items purchased, inclusive of all relevant taxes (VAT), have to be attached to a recoupment claim. A credit card statement for the period payment is to be made, or was made, must be attached to the recoupment claim. Statements are returned to the claimant on inspection of correctness of claim.

Central Bank

The Central Bank operates a Corporate Credit Card scheme and staff who have need to incur credit card type expenditure on behalf of the Bank are expected to apply for a card to be issued through this scheme. Although usage of staff’s own personal credit cards is not expressly prohibited, the Central Bank expect that staff only use their cards in very limited circumstances.

In order for any member of staff to recoup expenses as a result of business expenditure incurred, regardless of the method of payment, the staff member must complete an expenses claim form. All expense claims need to comply with the Central Bank’s expense claim policy and be submitted within 3 months of the expense being incurred. Claimants are required to provide a description of the spend and a business rationale for same. All expenses are required to be accompanied by proof of spend (i.e. relevant receipts). The expenditure requires approval at a Head of Division/Head of Function level or above.

Credit Review Office

The Credit Reviewer submits receipts for approval to the Department of Finance in respect of any work related expenses to be recouped that were incurred as a result of carrying out his/her duties.

Disabled Drivers Medical Board of Appeal (DDMBA)

With the exception of one medical doctor, ordinary board members receive locum expenses which the Chairperson of the Board signs off on at the clinics. Other expenses, such as travel or accommodation costs when travelling to external clinics, may be claimed by board members for which receipts must be provided.

Financial Services and Pensions Ombudsman (FSPO)

When a staff member uses their personal credit card for travel and expenses, this is reclaimed back in accordance with the FSPO’s travel and subsistence procedure. Staff who incur travel and/or subsistence expenses, having had travel and/or subsistence approved in advance by their line manager, must complete a Travel & Subsistence Claim form. When signed by the relevant Line Manager or budget holder, this form is then submitted to the Finance Officer for payment.

Investor Compensation Company DAC (ICCL)

The ICCL adhere to Central Bank of Ireland policies in relation to recoupment of work-related expenses. ICCL staff, when seeking reimbursement of work-related expenditure including those incurred on personally held cards, must submit all vouched requests for reimbursement through the Central Bank of Ireland travel desk.

Irish Fiscal Advisory Council (IFAC)

Work-related expenses recouped by staff in the Fiscal Council is on a vouched basis only. IFAC’s Payments Procedures Policy details the procedure and controls in respect of the use of the Fiscal Council debit card and in relation to the processing of Travel & Subsistence claims.

National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA), including National Asset Management Agency (NAMA), Home Building Finance Ireland (HBFI) and Strategic Banking Corporation Ireland (SBCI)

The NTMA has an expenses policy applicable to all NTMA employees, including NAMA, HBFI and SBCI, which governs the claiming of work-related expenses. This policy provides, amongst other things, that when claiming an expense, including work-related expenses from a personal credit card, a detailed receipt should be submitted. Expense claims require manager approval. Claims may be rejected by the relevant approver where he/she is not satisfied that sufficient backup has been provided. In this regard, the approver may refuse to accept a credit card statement or card receipt as sufficient evidence.

Office of the Revenue Commissioners

If a work related expense is incurred on a personal credit card, a claim must be submitted through the Payroll Shared Service Centre’s Travel & Subsistence system and receipts must be provided.

Tax Appeals Commission (TAC)

To date, there have been no payments in respect of work-related expenses incurred on personally held credit cards. Should such a situation arise, a staff member must submit all relevant receipts and recoupment is managed in accordance with the current Civil Service guidelines in relation to travel and subsistence.

Expenditure Approval Procedures

Credit Card Guidelines