Courts Service document storage contract was meant to deliver savings but cost almost €60,000 extra per year

A court contract for filing official records was supposed to deliver more than €80,000 in yearly savings but ended up costing the taxpayer an extra 33% annually.

A highly critical internal audit also found the Courts Service had been accidentally overcharged for two years, did not factor in delivery and collection fees, and may have awarded the contract to the wrong company.

It said this risked “legal and reputational consequences” and that if the Courts Service had fully understood the costs involved, the successful company would not have been awarded the contract in the first place.

The internal audit identified several “high risks” saying prices quoted in a tender document had not ultimately applied and “expected financial savings [were] not realised”.

It also said there was a lack of oversight and reporting within the Courts Service on the contract performance with accidental overcharging not identified for more than two years.

The audit also warned of potential breaches of data protection law and the National Archives Act because of a lack of consistent Courts Service policy on retention of records.