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MoD IT Systems Apparently "Not Fit For Purpose"

A contentious Oracle-based military payroll has been referred to as “not fit for purpose” as it is vulnerable to errors and frauds that could result into massive losses of worth £140 million a year, a report from National Audit Office (NAO) has revealed.

The Chairman of the House of Commons’ Public Accounts Committee, Edward Leigh, notified that the Joint Personnel Administration (JPA) system being used by the Ministry of Defence is flawed, as it lets service personnel to make expenses claims and allowances without proper controls and documentary proofs.

Instead of criticising the technology, the NAO said the problem has more to do with the mistakes committed by the service personnel while using the system, as well as loopholes in the design of the payroll system.

The audit conducted by the NAO on the MoD’s public accounts further disclosed that around 14.7 percent of all the transactions were flawed, showing 10 percent of the overall value of the payments.

The report discovered a notable £268.4 million in errors, with £204.3 million in overpayments as well as £64.1 million in underpayments, leading to a net loss of around £140 million.

Responding to the issues brought forth by the NAO report, a spokesperson for MOD said; “Some errors have been identified in the Joint Personnel Administration system in relation to the payment of specialist pay, allowances and expenses but we are working hard to ensure that the relevant issues are rectified”.

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Our Comments

Can it be rectified? Not sure simply because the payroll system is only the visible part of this endemic problem. It seems that the process itself is prone to abuse and needs to be close ASAP especially as the MoD faces one of its most difficult periods as it tries to make do with an every shrinking budget.

Related Links

Expenses fiddles likely on MoD payroll system (opens in new tab)

(ComputerWeekly)

MoD error and expenses fraud could total £140 million (opens in new tab)

(Telegraph)

Labyrinthine IT systems lose MoD almost £300m (opens in new tab)

(Silicon.com)

MoD accused of wasting millions (opens in new tab)

(BBC)

Payment system 'not fit for purpose' (opens in new tab)

(DefenceManagement)

Désiré Athow
Désiré Athow

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at ITProPortal.com where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.