MoD under fire over £140m payroll errors

21 Jul 2009 View Comments
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Military personnel are paid through JPA

The accounts of the Ministry of Defence (MoD) have been qualified after spending watchdogs found errors totalling £140m in its Joint Personnel Administration (JPA) payroll system.

The National Audit Office (NAO) said the system, which was criticised in its report a year earlier, relies on staff entering data about personnel in military units which is subject to such limited checks any errors are unlikely to be detected.

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The watchdog said a sample of payments found 14.7 per cent of transactions contained an error or could not be substantiated — equating to 10.1 per cent of the £8.9bn that passed through the system.

The NAO report said: "Service personnel are able to submit their own expenses claims via the JPA system and payment is normally made without further checks."

It added that: "There is most likely to be a net error of £140m in the accounts."

The Defence Fraud Analysis Unit has highlighted a growth in suspected fraud using the JPA system.

The NAO also complained some £155m worth of Bowman computerised secure communications equipment "could not be fully accounted for" although the MoD believed the equipment was under repair.

JPA was designed to improve and consolidate previously separate systems of payroll, postings, promotions, recruitment and training across the three armed forces.

Problem with JPA were first revealed by Computing in October 2007, after members of the armed forces posted around the world contacted us to complain about their treatment.

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