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Super officials payroll software: the government "stop the charges"

November 29 category:Economy
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Super officials payroll software: the government "stop the charges"

After almost seven years of work on this project, the government has decided to cancel the design of the National Pay Operator which was supposed to manage payroll of 2.5 million civil servants in 2017.


The ax fell. After investing hundreds of millions of euros since 2007, the state decided to stop altogether the National Payroll Project Operator (ONP). The Office of the Budget Ministry announced Tuesday, February 4 to 500 people working full-time on the record and the information was confirmed Monday, February 10 by the government.

ONP was managing payslips 2.5 million state employees from 2017. Most of its objectives will be abandoned: there will be no "national pay operator" common to all departments. Each will retain its own computer system of human resource management and only a work of "modernization" of the pay channel will be prosecuted.

A legacy of the Sarkozy years

The creation of "super computer" ONP was decided in May 2007 under Nicolas Sarkozy. Objective: to achieve 190 million euros in savings per year once completed site, including removing 3,800 positions allocated to the management of pay in the various ministries. Except he was confronted with the harsh reality: delays, cost explosion over the years ... Implement operations proved far more difficult than expected, as told L'Express last December.

The Ayrault government decided to get rid altogether of this embarrassing legacy, giving at the same time the expected savings. "The atmosphere at the NPO is inevitably gloomy but the decision was not a surprise," said one official involved in the project on condition of anonymity.

The reasons for abandoning the project

The government based its decision on a report on the ONP presented by Jacques Marzin, director of Disic (Interministerial Directorate of information and communication systems) in January. Contact by L'Express on Monday, the Department of Budget specifies that this report should not be made public. It still says that its conclusions were "net" and cites three main reasons for stopping the ONP:

1. The cost of the project had already reached 235 million euros (290 counting personnel costs). And "it was estimated that it would still took 60 million euros per year over 10 years to reach the end of the project," says one at Bercy, which prefers therefore save 600 million euros by way of this expense.

2. The global approach to transactions initiated in 2007 "lacked finesse, precision and realism." The government says it wants today think of projects "less pharaonic" but more effective.

3. The pay of state employees should be no risk.

Would it not possible to save the project by reducing the number of compensation systems within the Public Service (1850 now)? "Software has to adapt to the law, not to change. It's called the general interest", is it contends the Department of Budget.

The previous Louvois

The example of Louvois, another software pay this time for the military alone and abandoned in the fall of 2013, probably weighed at the time of choice. The Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian was forced to bury this system face a "disaster" (non-paid wages, overpayments, delays ...).

The failure of these two super software highlights the magnitude of the task when it comes to modernize public action. A cherished ambition to Nicolas Sarkozy as Francois Hollande at the time of cut down spending but often takes the Chinese puzzle when to act.

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