Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General - Press Release VFM examination report on Management of Telephone Facilities in the Civil Service

Press Release issued on 29 January 1996

VFM examination report on Management of Telephone Facilities in the Civil Service

The Comptroller and Auditor General, Mr John Purcell, has carried out an examination of the management of telephone facilities in the Civil Service. A report of the examination was presented to Dáil ?reann today.

The total cost of telecommunication services to Government departments for 1994 was ?22.5 million. Five departments, whose usage of telephones accounted for 10% of the expenditure were selected for detailed examination. The departments examined were:

the Department of Health

the Department of Education

the Department of Defence

the Department of Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht

the Department of Transport, Energy and Communications

The Government Telecommunications Network (GTN), which was established in 1989 to link Government departments in Dublin and regional centres, offered opportunities for cost savings through a low unit cost for calls using the network and the reduction in the need for switchboard operators.

Our analysis showed that

The GTN was a cost effective initiative, yielding net annual savings to the Exchequer of ?2m compared with the alternative of routing calls through the public telephone network.

Although 40% of calls could have been routed through the less costly GTN, in practice only 23% were so routed.

Significant extra savings could be realised with increased usage of the GTN. For example, a readily achievable increase of 20% would yield annual savings of ?100,000 while a 30% increase would yield ?300,000 per annum.

In four of the five departments examined the monitoring of telephone costs was poor and this appeared to contribute to a low level of recovery of the costs of non-official calls.

In general, there appeared to be scope for reducing the number of direct lines and other costly facilities.

Two departments experienced major service deficiencies which militated against them achieving realisable savings.

The absence of dialling restrictions on premium rate calls such as weather lines and result lines led to unnecessary annual charges totalling ?5,400 being incurred in two departments.

For further information about the report contents, please contact:

Seamus McCarthy

Tel: +353 1 679 3122

Fax: +353 1 679 3288


Publication Details

VFM Report No. 5: Management of Telephone Facilities in the Civil Service

ISBN 0-7076-2306-5

Price ?5

Government Publications Sales Office

Sun Alliance House

Molesworth Street

Dublin 2

Tel: +353 1 661 3111

Fax: +353 1 475 2760

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