Fórsa has sought an urgent meeting with Garda management to discuss its commitment to recruit staff and build IT capacity in the service as a prelude to reducing reliance on outside contractors.
Union official Shane Lambert wrote to the force’s head of civilian human resources after senior Garda representatives made a commitment to rebuild its in-house IT know-how at the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) last week.
They were there to discuss concerns about the management of a €26.5 million IT contract with global firm Accenture.
Last year an internal Garda audit report raised concerns about multi-million euro prepayments for IT services, and a lack of verified invoiced hours.
Shane said it had received similar commitments to ‘in-sourcing’ in the past, and was now determined to see action.
“We have raised this continuously over the last three years, and we’ve highlighted concerns to the Garda Inspectorate, the Policing Authority, local management, and the previous commissioner. More IT staff have left in the last two years as a result of management inaction,” he said.
The union has sought a meeting to clarify how the commitments made to the PAC will be met, and to discuss a long-term staffing strategy for Garda IT.
“Extremely capable and competent staff have been lost as a result of limited career progression and inadequate career structures, limiting the ability to manage significant ICT projects in-house. Now we want immediate action to reverse this damaging trend,” said Shane.
Fórsa has always maintained that a direct service delivery model, staffed by civilians, is the most prudent and cost-effective way of maintaining high service standards with low security risks and robust cost-controls.