eInvoicing: digital transformation in action

European Public administrations turn on green light for receiving eInvoices in European Standard. Declan McCormack, eInvoicing Ireland Programme Manager, explains the implications for Ireland and Europe.

European public administrations should now be in a position to receive and process eInvoices in the European Standard since 18 April 2019, in accordance with the European Directive 2014/55/EU (eInvoicing Directive). In Ireland, this deadline applies to Central Government bodies, the majority of whom are reaching compliance through the availability of the Office of Government Procurement’s (OGP) eInvoicing Framework. Irish sub-central Government bodies will need to be able to receive and process eInvoices in accordance with the eInvoicing Directive and the national eInvoicing approach by April 2020. eInvoicing is now at the centre of digital transformation in public procurement across Europe.

eInvoicing national approach in Ireland and the eInvoicing Framework

The national approach to the eInvoicing Directive is a multi-stakeholder approach, supporting the Government’s commitment to the Build-to-Share, Digital and Data strategies, focusing on improved efficiencies and effectiveness. The Irish approach has been to encourage and support the adoption of eInvoicing at shared services and co-ordinating body facilities level, across central and local government, health and education sectors, whilst also supporting independent public bodies, not falling under a shared services facility by the compliance timelines.

eInvoicing Ireland, the programme based in the OGP and tasked with supporting compliance with the eInvoicing Directive in Ireland, has been working with the OGP, to establish a Framework agreement for the provision of PEPPOL networking and eInvoicing systems and services. The Framework has been developed in recognition of the public sector landscape in Ireland aiming to:

  1. Meet the eInvoicing requirements of the public sector, from shared services and co-ordinating body facilities, to individual public bodies; and
  2. Cater for those looking to achieve basic compliance as well as those looking for more integrated solutions to realise longer term benefits.

The Framework has therefore been designed with multiple lots, in order to address the differing needs of the respective shared services/co-ordinating body facilities as well as individual public bodies. The lots are as follows:

Lot 1: single supplier lot for the National Shared Service Office (NSSO) Finance Shared Services and Central Government Departments and Agencies.

Lot 2: multi-supplier lot for two shared services and co-ordinating facilities across the Health Service Executive and other Health Authorities, and the Local Government Management Agency (LGMA), Local and Regional Authorities.

Lot 3: multi-supplier lot for all public bodies which don’t fall under Lots 1 and 2.

The OGP and eInvoicing Ireland have developed a range of materials including user manuals as part of the Framework documentation available at www.ogp.gov.ie.

In transposing the eInvoicing Directive into Irish legislation, Ireland is availing of the option for sub-central contracting authorities and contracting entities to postpone the compliance deadline until April 2020. Individual public bodies will need to determine whether the central or sub-central deadline applies to them, in regard to the eInvoicing Directive.

Ireland is not legislating to mandate suppliers to send eInvoices in accordance with the European Standard at this time. The advice from early European adopters of eInvoicing, such as some of the Nordic countries, is to take a gradual approach, to wait until eInvoicing reaches greater maturity across government before mandating suppliers. Ireland is now embarking on the journey of digital transformation, looking to build on the experiences of those early adopters including on-boarding suppliers.

Europe and eInvoicing

The eInvoicing Directive is bringing all Member States under the one European Standard (EN-16931), where previously different countries had been working to a variety of separate national standards. The European Standard, which, at a basic level is a data-model, is available on a free-to-use basis from the National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI). The eInvoicing Directive aims to create greater eInvoicing interoperability between businesses and European public administrations. Specifically in relation to the cost efficiencies afforded by eInvoicing, through large scale eInvoice processing, it is estimated that between 2015 – 2017 €920 million in savings was recorded across EU member states through eInvoicing alone.

Accessing the eInvoicing Framework

Public bodies looking to access the eInvoicing Framework, please log onto www.ogp.gov.ie and the Buyer zone and select/ search as follows:

  • Category: Managed Services
  • Keyword: ‘PEPPOL’ or ‘eInvoicing systems’

OGP clients must register to gain access to the Buyer zone available to all public service buyers accessing live contracts/frameworks.

The PEPPOL eDelivery network for eProcurement documents including eInvoices continues to gain traction across 19 countries in Europe as well as internationally including Canada,  Singapore and the recent addition to the PEPPOL community of Australia and New Zealand. As an OpenPEPPOL Authority member Ireland has an important role to play in shaping the future of eProcurement across Europe.

The European Commission and EU Member States are supporting the adoption of the eInvoicing Directive and the European Standard through the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) eInvoicing Building Block which provides a range of supports to Member States, public administrations and the service provider community accessible at ec.europe.eu/cefdigital.

Next Steps

Public bodies need to plan for compliance and to consider the potential wider benefits of eInvoicing. Public bodies should start by understanding the requirements of the eInvoicing Directive and identifying the areas of their organisation that might be impacted by the introduction of eInvoicing such as Accounting and Finance, ICT and Procurement teams. Analysis of the existing invoice processing environment including system capabilities, invoice volumes and supplier profiles should then be undertaken. This knowledge can help to identify the business case for eInvoicing and the preparation of an eInvoicing strategy. eInvoicing should also be considered in terms of the wider end-to-end procure-to-pay lifecycle.

For public bodies who are part of a shared services or co-ordinating body facility, analysis and planning should be undertaken with the project managers from the shared services/co-ordinating body facilities. eInvoicing Ireland has produced a worksheet for public bodies to start considering these different stages and planning for implementation. Public bodies should then download the information from the eInvoicing Framework with a view to drawing down the relevant services.

T: 076 100 8000
E: einvoicing@ogp.gov.ie
W: www.ogp.gov.ie

 

 

 



Barry Doyle

Since graduating with an MSc in Geographical Information Systems (GIS) in 1994 Barry has worked as a GIS / IT professional and business consultant in various roles in both the public and private sector in Ireland. With over 13 years’ experience working as a Project Leader in the Irish Local Government Sector Barry has been responsible for leading and delivering various innovative projects at both a Local Authority and Sectoral level with a particular focus on Digital Transformation, Geographical Information Systems, Information Management and Open Data.


Prior to joining Galway County Council in November 2018 Barry championed, defined and led the Digital Transformation Programme in Roscommon Country Council with the overall aim of embracing opportunities presented by ongoing advances in the digital technologies, broadband availability and capacity, and Cloud based enterprise solutions to transform how the Council provides services to, and interacts with, the citizens it serves. In line with this Barry completed a Special Certificate in Designing Innovative Services with Cork Institute of Technology in 2018.

 

Gemma Garvan

Gemma Garvan is Director of Informatics at St James’s Hospital in Dublin which last year became the first digital acute hospital in Ireland, which is the start of a landmark change for how care is delivered.  Gemma is an experienced Health Informatics Leader with a demonstrated history of working in the hospital and health care industry.  Prior to taking up her role at St James’s Hospital in 2018 she was Head of Access to Information at Healthlink. Gemma began work as an analyst programmer with The National Healthlink Project and moved into a project management role over a decade ago. Gemma has a BSc in computer science and software engineering and an MA from Trinity College in Dublin.

Barry Lowry

Barry Lowry is CIO for the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, a position he was appointed to in 2016. He is tasked with delivering the Public Service ICT Strategy. Prior to 2016, he spent almost 35 years in the Northern Ireland Civil Service (NICS) on work ranging from the programming of mainframe computers to operating as a team leader in the design of client server systems. For the five years prior to his appointment, Lowry was the director who oversaw the establishment of ICT shared services in NICS. He also operated as the Head of Profession for ICT. In 2011 he was voted the Northern Ireland IT Professional of the Year by his associates.

Aileen McHugh
Kieran O’Hea

A native of Cork, Kieran O’Hea is Leicester City Council’s Head of Smart Cities, where he is leading the implementation of a Smart City Strategy that is city-needs led and demand-driven. He was formerly Chief Digital Officer of Brisbane, where he led the development of the city’s digital economy strategy. Before focusing on city strategies, Kieran led the development of digital strategies for a number of government agencies in Dublin. He has also worked for the European Commission, developing funding programmes in the area of digital content.

Donal Spellman

Donal

Tim Willoughby

Tim Willoughby is Head of Digital Services and Innovation at An Garda Síochána. He was formerly CTO of the LGMA, with over 20 years in a number of Senior Management and Technical Roles in the Local Government Sector. He has been working in the Public service for almost 28 years. Tim has a Civil Engineering Degree from TCD and a Masters in Innovation from the University of Ulster.

Moyagh Murdock

Moyagh Murdock has been in the transport sector for over 20 years in various capacities. Currently, Moyagh is the Chief Executive Officer at the Road Safety Authority. In her early career she spent 10 years in the airline industry having worked at Bombardier in Belfast as an aircraft systems engineer. She was then Chief Operating Officer for Bus Éireann having joined the Company in 2007 as the Deputy Chief Mechanical Engineer with responsibility for the fleet maintenance and garage operations. In 2012 she was awarded an MBA from Dublin City University (DCU) and holds a Certificate of Professional Competence in Road Transport Operations Management.

Caron Alexander

Caron Alexander is Director of Digital Shared Services at the Northern Ireland Civil Service.  She has more than 30 years of experience in the UK public sector.  Caron is responsible for providing ICT shared services to 27,000 staff, for the NI citizen portal www.nidirect.gov.uk and contact centre services, delivering the NI Digital Transformation Programme and driving forward the NI Open Data agenda.  Previously Caron held a number of senior technical, programme and change management roles in the Northern Ireland Civil Service.

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Michael Redmond
Michael Redmond is Chief Operating Officer at the Office of the CIO/eHealthIreland. A highly experienced leader within eHealth and Digital, Michael has a reputation for delivering results, driving excellence and building capability in each and every one of his career roles to date. Hugely experienced across the public sector, he is known to be acutely customer focussed; his strategy of simplifying the digital agenda resonates with the C-suite, staff and the general public alike. As COO, Michael manages the largest ICT investment budget in the whole public sector. Also a qualified and certified CIO, Michael studied Computer Science at Trinity College Dublin.
In 2008, Stella founded Annertech, Ireland’s leading open-source digital agency. Since its inception, Annertech have grown to become the "go to" Drupal experts in Ireland and work with a variety of clients in both the private and public sectors. Stella is an active contributor to the Drupal open-source content management system, and maintains many modules including Commerce Realex, Commerce Donate and Code Review. She is a member of the international Drupal Security Team, and was recently chairperson of the Drupal Ireland Association.

Dominic Byrne is Head of Information Technology with Fingal County Council and has 26 years’ experience working in IT.  He holds a Degree in Information Technology and a Masters in Internet Systems.  He is responsible for managing the provision of IT services in Fingal County Council and his current interests include Digital Government, Smart Cities and Civic Tech.  He is a member of the Smart Dublin Executive Committee and the Public Bodies Working Group on Open Data.