Doncaster council staff must repay £500,000

NEWS: News.

NEWS: News.

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Doncaster Council is still owed more than £500,000 by current and former staff who have been overpaid.

That’s the amazing figure revealed in a report which shows vast amounts of missing and unaccounted for cash at the authority.

And the study, set to be discussed by the council’s audit committee next week, shows the problem of overpayments to staff is still happening – with 84 fresh cases during the first quarter of this year.

Overall, in 2012-13, council workers received a total of £637,000 in over-payments – with £180,000 of that figure recovered by the end of March this year.

Within the first part of this year, a further 84 cases were revealed with a value of £62,481 – and from that total £15,433 has been reclaimed by the authority.

But that still leaves a whopping £504,000 to be recovered, relating to nearly 600 individual cases – with 57 per cent relating to the period before 2010-11.

The report added that 241 cases with the value of £210,000 were in repayment plans while 182 cases to the value of £143,000 were in active recovery – but the money had not yet been returned.

But the findings added: “An assessment of these cases demonstrates it is likely that at least £76,000 will need to be written off as the individuals either cannot be traced, have no assets, have been declared bankrupt, or for other valid reasons.”

Figures show one individual from the 2013-14 period was overpaid by nearly £6,000 – because of late notification that they were leaving – while others walked home with cash totalling £2,664 and £2,092.

The council’s schools department was the worst offender with more than £35,000 overpaid to 51 people during 2012-13 – only £5,000 of which has so far been recovered.

Nearly £30,000 was overpaid to employees in the regeneration and environment department, £27,000 to children and young people staff, and £19,000 to adults and communities workers.

The report added: “It is important that the council avoids overpayments wherever possible and successfully recovers overpayments in a timely manner.

“This will reduce any impact on available finances for funding activities designed to meet key objectives.”

The report also said the number of overpayments was reducing along with the overall value of overpayments.