Paying the price: Council blunder costs £800,000 as over 800 workers are overpaid

Council bosses have been slated for overpaying staff more than £800,000 of taxpayers’ money.

An Audit Scotland probe shows there have been 806 employees overpaid in the last three years – with Renfrewshire Council struggling to get the money back.

Payroll figures between April 2015 and February 2018 show that overpayment to 475 current employees amounted to £424,743.

While overpayment to 331 former workers reached £387,512, bringing the total to £812,255.

The public finance watchdog’s audit also reveals that only 43 per cent of the cash has been recovered by paymasters in Paisley.

The report states: “As part of our audit we reviewed how successful the council has been in recovering overpayment of salaries and wages.

“As outlined at exhibit 2 below, a total of £351,448 of overpayments had been fully recovered at the time the audit work was undertaken, a full recovery rate of 43 per cent.”

And council bosses are struggling to recover taxpayers’ cash with the average time of repayment taking 101 days, however, some cases have taken FIVE years.

And the council’s payroll department has shelled out large overpayments to staff where six cases uncovered showed overpayment was for more than £10,000.

The highest overpayment was for £15,487.

The watchdog criticised Renfrewshire Council for not striking people off the payroll when they leave – and voiced concern over the authority’s bookkeeping.

The report added: “We recommended that a process should be put in place to ensure that leavers are removed from the payroll immediately when they cease to be employed by the council.

“We obtained an overpayment monitoring spreadsheet maintained by payroll services.

“The information in the spreadsheet was incomplete which meant there were cases where we could not conclude the overall status of the overpayment.”

John O’Connell, chief executive at the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “It’s totally unfair on taxpayers to be expected to pick up the bill for so many mistakes.”

Audit Scotland summarised it findingsby saying : “As a result of the weaknesses identified in relation to payroll we will undertake additional substantive testing as part of our final accounts audit work.”

However the council hit back critics saying it has “robust” measures in place for recovering money owed.

The authority also pointed out that repayments to former workers over the last three years amounts to £387,512.

So what do you think?

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Source : https://www.europebreakingnews.net/2018/06/paying-the-price-council-blunder-costs-us-80000/
Source : https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/paying-the-price-council-blunder-12681416

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