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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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.