Business Process Automation (BPA) in Revenue

BPA or technology-enabled automation of rules based business processes was identified as an opportunity to streamline the operational business of the Organisation, to achieve simplicity, improve service delivery and reduce costs. The innovation engages BPA to digitally transform workflows from conventional data manipulation and record-keeping functions, to efficient automated systems. BPA has benefitted front line staff, where the burden of processes has transferred from humans to technology.

Innovation Summary

Innovation Overview

In early 2016, as part of the Civil Service Reform agenda, the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform began exploring how Business Process Automation (BPA) could improve processes across the Civil Service. The Management Information Services (MIS) team in Revenue decided that this represented a significant opportunity for the Organisation as service delivery is built on complex business processes. The team became one of four Government bodies tasked with investigating the capabilities of BPA in the civil service.

The innovation is the automation of complex business processes using robotic technology to achieve simpler work flows, better service delivery and to engage front line staff in more challenging and fruitful employment.

Following a strong commitment from a small unit, incorporating intensive up-skilling on robotic software and analysis of many business processes across the Organisation, opportunities for improvements were identified. Solutions were built achieving significant efficiencies.
At the outset, it was envisaged the initiative would be confined to the Collector General’s Division in Revenue. However, as the opportunities presented across the Organisation the remit of the team expanded. Buy-in was sought and secured from the IT Board of Revenue to ensure strong governance and to progress the initiative on a greater scale. Since then, savings have been realised in other Revenue Divisions, while the initiative continues to gain traction.

The vision is to digitally transform all conventional business processes in the Irish civil service using BPA technology. To institutionalise BPA into the fabric of the Irish public service, it is necessary to build the perception of technology-enabled automation as the tool of first preference to apply to operational processes.

For instance, promotion and recruitment is a cornerstone of any large Organisation. Within the public sector the procedures are designed and governed to deliver results and achieve transparency. While campaigns to recruit and promote are tailored to achieve the best results there is little variation between the work flows engaged to facilitate the process. This describes one of the projects developed as part of the Revenue BPA agenda; BPA has been successfully employed to process thousands of applications to support recruitment and promotion campaigns. Scale within the Organisation has been achieved and this is now the accepted tool of first preference to facilitate such campaigns.

The processes engaged to support recruitment and promotion transcend the boundaries of Government offices. Already, work has begun to transfer the BPA technology to one other office. The potential for scale is to digitally transform the processing of all recruitment applications across the public sector in a manner that is both low-cost and agile in its adaptability.

This represents one example of how the BPA Agenda will scale and become institutionalised across the Irish public sector. The Revenue team have become mentors and advisors to Government colleagues with the aim of driving the digital transformation

Innovation Description

Innovation Development

Innovation Reflections

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Year: 2016
Level of government: Regional/State government


  • Implementation - making the innovation happen
  • Evaluation - understanding whether the innovative initiative has delivered what was needed
  • Diffusing Lessons - using what was learnt to inform other projects and understanding how the innovation can be applied in other ways

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