The PPARS Debacle

The payroll computer system for the health service was originally estimated to cost €9.1 million and was meant to be implemented in a two year time frame. Eight years on from that the project has cost €220 million so far. The system was plagued by technical faults during the roll-out phase. Famously one health service employee was paid €1 million in error by the system. As well as this, the computer system cannot handle sick pay, annual leave, bank holidays or sick leave for 70,000 Health Service staff. The system's roll-out was halted in October 2005 as of escalating costs.


The HSE are still ploughing ahead with the system and are hoping to continue to roll it out once a report is issued on the system in the summer. Recently the HSE revealed that they spent €19.6 million on the system in 2006. They are going to spend €12.8 million on it in 2007. A Comptroller and Auditor General report from 2005 was damning concluded that the system did not have a clear enough remit from the outset and poorly managed.

The report said that estimates were not supported by the cost analysis and cost was consistently underestimated. There was no evidence that staff savings had been achieved by the date of the report.

The report also criticised the fact that the system was not adequately tested in pilot schemes.

As well major risks had been identified in a Hay report in 2002 but “does not seem to have been taken on board sufficiently.” And the manner in which the consultants were engaged was unsatisfactory.