Finance Reform FAQs

What is the Finance Reform Programme?

Established in 2014 to implement the new Finance Operating Model the Finance Reform Programme (FRP) aims to change how Finance operates in the Health Service. 

It is considered to be the single most important non-clinical priority of the HSE and a key pillar of wider Health Service improvement and aims to ultimately deliver better value and cost savings to patients.

The programme aims to implement:

  • new operating structures and new ways of working
  • standardised financial management processes
  • a new single national integrated finance and procurement system IFMS (SAP 4 Hanna)

Watch our Finance Reform Information video 

Why is Finance Reform needed?

In November 2012, the Minister for Health published Future Health: A Strategic Framework for Reform of the Health Service 2012 – 2015 which identified four key areas of reform for the Health Service, one of which is Finance. A number of reports identified significant weaknesses in financial management practices across the Health Service in the areas of People, Process and Technology, including:

  • being no longer fit for purpose
  • having over 200 different finance systems operating independently
  • having no single, consistent view of financial performance available
  • having inconsistent reporting and multiple ways of working

How does Finance Reform fit into Wider Health Reform?

The Finance Reform programme is being implemented within a wider programme of Health System improvement and transformation. The successful delivery of these wider system reforms is dependent on having robust financial systems, reporting and organisational design (i.e. a new Finance Operating Model) in place that meet current and future requirements. The implementation of Finance Reform is therefore an enabler of wider change, focused on changing how healthcare will be planned, provided and managed.

What are the Benefits of Finance Reform for the Health Service?

Finance Reform will bring a number of benefits and will enable:

  • better management of the €15 billion annual budget
  • reduced costs, better efficiency and streamlined processes
  • better financial decisions, planning and management
  • service needs-based budgeting
  • a single, accurate, consistent financial picture
  • improved and more accurate reporting
  • demonstrate value for money

How will Finance Reform be implemented?

The programme aims to implement: 

  • new operating structures and new ways of working
  • standardised financial management processes
  • a new Single National Integrated Financial Management and Procurement System - IFMS (SAP S/4 HANA)

These changes are being delivered in parallel across three pillars:

1.       People -  Providing staff with the support the need to do their job effectively and feel valued in what they do.

2.       Process - Improving the way we do things and moving to standard national processes.

3.       Technology - Delivering IFMS, a single national integrated Financial Management and Procurement System for the Health Service

Who is responsible for Project Management of the Finance Reform Programme?

The Finance Reform Project Management Office (PMO) is responsible for defining, developing and embedding project management standards across the Finance Reform Programme. The PMO aims to standardise, reduce duplication and leverage resources (people, financial and technology) in the implementation of the various projects across the programme. This ensures the co-ordination and successful delivery of the programme in the context of the wider Health Reform Programme.

One of the key benefits of the PMO is in relation to Governance and assurance management which includes the preparation of and timely delivery of papers, progress updates and actions in line with Finance Reform Programme Board recommendations.

What does Finance Reform mean for Shared Services?

The provision of Shared Services is a central principle of the Finance Reform Programme. A National shared services model is planned for the finance and procurement processing functions of all Health Service entities under the scope of IFMS. It will support the more efficient utilisation of administrative resources through the transfer of the workload into a shared services model.

What does Finance Reform mean for Section 38 & Section 39 Agencies?

The Finance Reform Board has mandated that the new Finance Operating Model for the Health Sector will be used within all directly operated statutory HSE services as well as all services funded by the HSE under Section 38 agreements and some larger services funded under Section 39 agreements.

Further work is required on developing the optimal approach for the roll-out of IFMS in Section 38 and Section 39 organisations that balances the business requirements, technical constraints and capacity of local and national implementation teams.

What is Consolidated Finance Intelligence (CFI)?

CFI is an interim platform for National Finance Reporting across the Health Service which went live in August 2017.

The new CFI system configuration helps produce consistent data through a common suite of reports built on a single chart of accounts and enterprise structure across the HSE including Corporate, Directorate, Community Healthcare Organisations, Hospital Groups and HBS Finance. 

What is Process Standardisation?

Finance Reform aims to implement standardised financial management processes across the Health Service. To do this we must reform our processes to be the simplest and most efficient they can be, to build on best practice and to eliminate redundant, out of date processes.

Process standardisation aims to ensure we are:

  • doing things in the same way across the organisation
  • getting the right people to do the right jobs at the right time
  • building Centres of Excellence
  • using modern technology to simplify and streamline jobs and reduce workload, where possible
  • making sure Best Practise is adopted and used

As part of Finance Reform a Process Standardisation Unit (PSU) has been established and is responsible  for the standardisation of accounting processes across the Health Sector.

What is IFMS?

IFMS is a Single National Integrated Financial Management and Procurement System for the Irish Health Service. It will replace over 200 legacy financial systems which currently operate independently of each other across the Health Service.

What are the benefits of IFMS implementation?

Top Benefits of Implementing IFMS final

What stage is the the new Single Integrated Financial Management & Procurement System (IFMS) Project at?

The first stage in the delivery of the new Single National Integrated Finance & Procurement System was the selection of a single ERP software solution. This stage was completed by the HSE in 2017 after a public procurement process which resulted in the SAP S/4 HANA ERP Software solution being selected.

Does the HSE know when the system will be procured and implemented?

The procurement process for SAP implementation support started in 2018 and the implementation phase will start after this process is complete.

What is the cost of the new Single Integrated Financial Management & Procurement System (IFMS)?

The estimated total costs will be approximately €120m over the lifetime of the project.

How much will the new Single Integrated Financial Management & Procurement System (IFMS) save the HSE annually?

The estimated benefits will be approximately €13m per annum once IFMS is fully deployed.