City of York Council council staff overpaid by more than £200,000 in 3 years

York Press: York council staff overpaid by more than £200,000 in 3 years York council staff overpaid by more than £200,000 in 3 years

COUNCIL staff in York have been overpaid by more than £200,000 in the space of three years through errors and glitches, figures have revealed.

Details obtained through the Freedom of Information Act have shown one member of City of York Council staff was wrongly paid £96,191.18 more than they were supposed to receive last year while the authority was bringing in a new payroll system.

The council said this money was fully recovered within days, but of the £203,466.88 which was overpaid during 2010/11, 2011/12 and 2012/13, £21,197.59 had not been recouped at the end of the last financial year.

In total, 139 staff were paid more than they should have been over the three-year period.

However, the number of overpayment cases has fallen, from 72 in 2010/11 to 38 in 2012/13. A council spokeswoman said there was no “singular issue” behind the wage mistakes, saying: “The cases are down to a combination of administration and paperwork errors, or not receiving notification of changes or leavers prior to payroll processing deadlines.”

She said payroll and authorisation systems had been improved, human resources and payroll staff had undergone extra training and managers were given regular notice of payday deadlines.

She also said none of the overpayments was due to staff claiming payments mistakenly or deliberately for hours they had not worked.

She said: “In order to recover an overpayment for anybody who has been overpaid and is no longer an employee of the council, we issue up to three reminder letters before referring to the bailiffs to attempt recovery.”

The largest single overpayment in 2010/11 was £4,260.70, and £4,772.17 the following year. The council said checks by management and internal auditors had found no similar cases to the £96,000 overpayment in 2012/13.

Council leader James Alexander said: "I take operational matters like this very seriously and I am pleased council staff have ensured the number of such human errors has decreased dramatically in the last couple of years. Numbers of incidents appear to reach a peak prior to the local elections."

Comments (22)

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8:54am Sat 28 Dec 13

CaroleBaines says...

Here we go again, Mark (Freedom of Information Act) Stead doling out more lazy journalism. Sorry - but there has got to be more to the job that sitting behind a desk using FOI to manipulate a story. Was this not the chap who gave us the 'police spend money on uniforms' nonsense. Where is the context beyond the bare figures - where is anything, frankly. Sort it out, editor - you are making fools of your readers.

Am not defending the Council before anyone starts, they can do incompetence without Stead's help and do so in more critically damaging ways than this non-story. I just really dislike this form of lazy journalism and yes, I do know something about the industry.
Here we go again, Mark (Freedom of Information Act) Stead doling out more lazy journalism. Sorry - but there has got to be more to the job that sitting behind a desk using FOI to manipulate a story. Was this not the chap who gave us the 'police spend money on uniforms' nonsense. Where is the context beyond the bare figures - where is anything, frankly. Sort it out, editor - you are making fools of your readers. Am not defending the Council before anyone starts, they can do incompetence without Stead's help and do so in more critically damaging ways than this non-story. I just really dislike this form of lazy journalism and yes, I do know something about the industry. CaroleBaines

8:55am Sat 28 Dec 13

Exlabourmember says...

Has anyone noticed that Calamity James seems to be commenting on all stories? Have the relevant cabinet members run for the hills?
Has anyone noticed that Calamity James seems to be commenting on all stories? Have the relevant cabinet members run for the hills? Exlabourmember

9:06am Sat 28 Dec 13

nearlyman says...

I rather think that council officers have been probably overpaid for many years.
I rather think that council officers have been probably overpaid for many years. nearlyman

9:15am Sat 28 Dec 13

chelk says...

Just goes to show how Inept this council is. The Muppet Show rolls on
Just goes to show how Inept this council is. The Muppet Show rolls on chelk

9:16am Sat 28 Dec 13

chelk says...

Now just to wait for the scores to be manipulated by the usual Moron
Now just to wait for the scores to be manipulated by the usual Moron chelk

9:23am Sat 28 Dec 13

CaroleBaines says...

Okay - lets look at this before we get too knicker wetting. The headline does not match the facts, for a start. £200k overpaid from various small errors for a hell of a lot of staff. Of this 90% had been corrected and the remainder may well be by now, it was just outstanding at the end of the financial year. Real 'headline' if this nonsense deserves one, would be more 'payroll in large organisation correct occasional errors'. It will be the same at Aviva, Civil Service, or any large organisation.

Am no apologist for the Council - I can name you ten Lendal Bridge fine style fiascos without really breaking sweat. It is just this story is a non-story - if people cannot see that, then I despair. You keep falling for it and paying your 50p or whatever this rag costs.
Okay - lets look at this before we get too knicker wetting. The headline does not match the facts, for a start. £200k overpaid from various small errors for a hell of a lot of staff. Of this 90% had been corrected and the remainder may well be by now, it was just outstanding at the end of the financial year. Real 'headline' if this nonsense deserves one, would be more 'payroll in large organisation correct occasional errors'. It will be the same at Aviva, Civil Service, or any large organisation. Am no apologist for the Council - I can name you ten Lendal Bridge fine style fiascos without really breaking sweat. It is just this story is a non-story - if people cannot see that, then I despair. You keep falling for it and paying your 50p or whatever this rag costs. CaroleBaines

9:33am Sat 28 Dec 13

heworth.28 says...

This sort of thing happens all the time regardless of the employer, generally due to software or data entry error - there are bigger and more worthy sticks to beat the council with!
This sort of thing happens all the time regardless of the employer, generally due to software or data entry error - there are bigger and more worthy sticks to beat the council with! heworth.28

9:40am Sat 28 Dec 13

LibDem says...

Yes a bit of a non story but a strange comment from JA. "number of mistakes tend to peak before local elections".

The figures - which can be found on the Council web site - actually show the reverse to be the case. The average overpayments made were:

2010/11 £552.51 (pre election year)
2011/12 £980.83
2012/13 £3,559.00

It has more to do with changes to terms and conditions of service, and a high staff turnover, than any election cycle..
Yes a bit of a non story but a strange comment from JA. "number of mistakes tend to peak before local elections". The figures - which can be found on the Council web site - actually show the reverse to be the case. The average overpayments made were: 2010/11 £552.51 (pre election year) 2011/12 £980.83 2012/13 £3,559.00 It has more to do with changes to terms and conditions of service, and a high staff turnover, than any election cycle.. LibDem

9:43am Sat 28 Dec 13

nearlyman says...

CaroleBaines wrote:
Okay - lets look at this before we get too knicker wetting. The headline does not match the facts, for a start. £200k overpaid from various small errors for a hell of a lot of staff. Of this 90% had been corrected and the remainder may well be by now, it was just outstanding at the end of the financial year. Real 'headline' if this nonsense deserves one, would be more 'payroll in large organisation correct occasional errors'. It will be the same at Aviva, Civil Service, or any large organisation.

Am no apologist for the Council - I can name you ten Lendal Bridge fine style fiascos without really breaking sweat. It is just this story is a non-story - if people cannot see that, then I despair. You keep falling for it and paying your 50p or whatever this rag costs.
Its free on line !!! (If you can tolerate the naff ads !
[quote][p][bold]CaroleBaines[/bold] wrote: Okay - lets look at this before we get too knicker wetting. The headline does not match the facts, for a start. £200k overpaid from various small errors for a hell of a lot of staff. Of this 90% had been corrected and the remainder may well be by now, it was just outstanding at the end of the financial year. Real 'headline' if this nonsense deserves one, would be more 'payroll in large organisation correct occasional errors'. It will be the same at Aviva, Civil Service, or any large organisation. Am no apologist for the Council - I can name you ten Lendal Bridge fine style fiascos without really breaking sweat. It is just this story is a non-story - if people cannot see that, then I despair. You keep falling for it and paying your 50p or whatever this rag costs.[/p][/quote]Its free on line !!! (If you can tolerate the naff ads ! nearlyman

10:33am Sat 28 Dec 13

Dave Ruddock says...

Audit, Audit Audit, do they have such a thing and if overpayments , they are easy to redress, unless itts another (Over Paid Councilor, thit thinks in an infringment on thier personal circumtstances) so 10% of unreclamed monies) Call the Fraud Squad.
Audit, Audit Audit, do they have such a thing and if overpayments , they are easy to redress, unless itts another (Over Paid Councilor, thit thinks in an infringment on thier personal circumtstances) so 10% of unreclamed monies) Call the Fraud Squad. Dave Ruddock

10:41am Sat 28 Dec 13

Zetkin says...

Certainly a non-story, but I wouldn't be quite so quick to condemn individual journalists. Massive staff cuts at the Press over tecent years mean there's just a handful of scribes where there used to be dozens. The latest episode is that the subeditors will lose their jobs with their work being done instead in Newport in South Wales.

Small wonder that the remaining hacks have to do what they can from their own desk. FoI requests are indeed a poor substitute for investigative journalism, but I'd hazard a guess that Each Press journalist is now covering the work formerly done by three or four of his/her vanished colleagues.
Certainly a non-story, but I wouldn't be quite so quick to condemn individual journalists. Massive staff cuts at the Press over tecent years mean there's just a handful of scribes where there used to be dozens. The latest episode is that the subeditors will lose their jobs with their work being done instead in Newport in South Wales. Small wonder that the remaining hacks have to do what they can from their own desk. FoI requests are indeed a poor substitute for investigative journalism, but I'd hazard a guess that Each Press journalist is now covering the work formerly done by three or four of his/her vanished colleagues. Zetkin

11:14am Sat 28 Dec 13

again says...

Did anyone ask how many underpayment errors were made?
Did anyone ask how many underpayment errors were made? again

3:00pm Sat 28 Dec 13

James Venamun says...

Agree with Carole Baines, there surely are bigger sticks to beat the Council with , but York citizens need to be aware that the local authority has undergone massive changes in terms of service/staff restructuring, relocation to West Offices and continuing cuts from central government, so in the wider scheme of things, these over payments- mainly recovered- are of little significance to the public purse. Anyone who knows anything about HR and payroll systems in large organizations will know that these sorts problems are commonplace as administrators have to depend upon liner manager doing staff returns promptly and accurately. This does not happen in CoYC as well as it should, but slowly things are improving.
As for the York Press , unfortunately, you always revert to type when you have slow news days, and that most often involves having a pop at the Council. Perhaps Council staff might feel better about their job if it wasn't for the constant brickbats from the local rag and it's unenterprising desk top journos?
Agree with Carole Baines, there surely are bigger sticks to beat the Council with , but York citizens need to be aware that the local authority has undergone massive changes in terms of service/staff restructuring, relocation to West Offices and continuing cuts from central government, so in the wider scheme of things, these over payments- mainly recovered- are of little significance to the public purse. Anyone who knows anything about HR and payroll systems in large organizations will know that these sorts problems are commonplace as administrators have to depend upon liner manager doing staff returns promptly and accurately. This does not happen in CoYC as well as it should, but slowly things are improving. As for the York Press , unfortunately, you always revert to type when you have slow news days, and that most often involves having a pop at the Council. Perhaps Council staff might feel better about their job if it wasn't for the constant brickbats from the local rag and it's unenterprising desk top journos? James Venamun

4:44pm Sat 28 Dec 13

nowthen says...

James Venamun wrote:
Agree with Carole Baines, there surely are bigger sticks to beat the Council with , but York citizens need to be aware that the local authority has undergone massive changes in terms of service/staff restructuring, relocation to West Offices and continuing cuts from central government, so in the wider scheme of things, these over payments- mainly recovered- are of little significance to the public purse. Anyone who knows anything about HR and payroll systems in large organizations will know that these sorts problems are commonplace as administrators have to depend upon liner manager doing staff returns promptly and accurately. This does not happen in CoYC as well as it should, but slowly things are improving.
As for the York Press , unfortunately, you always revert to type when you have slow news days, and that most often involves having a pop at the Council. Perhaps Council staff might feel better about their job if it wasn't for the constant brickbats from the local rag and it's unenterprising desk top journos?
If it wasn't for the local rag, as you call it , most of us mere council tax payers would be less informed about about the goings on of this spinful and secretive Labour led council. The majority of us are very happy with what the council staff and workers do , it's the politically motivated machinations of the cabinet and single issue councillors that gets our backs up. If you don't like what you read in the Press , stick to the Socialist Worker or James Alexander's Twitter feed .
[quote][p][bold]James Venamun[/bold] wrote: Agree with Carole Baines, there surely are bigger sticks to beat the Council with , but York citizens need to be aware that the local authority has undergone massive changes in terms of service/staff restructuring, relocation to West Offices and continuing cuts from central government, so in the wider scheme of things, these over payments- mainly recovered- are of little significance to the public purse. Anyone who knows anything about HR and payroll systems in large organizations will know that these sorts problems are commonplace as administrators have to depend upon liner manager doing staff returns promptly and accurately. This does not happen in CoYC as well as it should, but slowly things are improving. As for the York Press , unfortunately, you always revert to type when you have slow news days, and that most often involves having a pop at the Council. Perhaps Council staff might feel better about their job if it wasn't for the constant brickbats from the local rag and it's unenterprising desk top journos?[/p][/quote]If it wasn't for the local rag, as you call it , most of us mere council tax payers would be less informed about about the goings on of this spinful and secretive Labour led council. The majority of us are very happy with what the council staff and workers do , it's the politically motivated machinations of the cabinet and single issue councillors that gets our backs up. If you don't like what you read in the Press , stick to the Socialist Worker or James Alexander's Twitter feed . nowthen

5:57pm Sat 28 Dec 13

cas540 says...

It might not be big news to some but I am concerned about the smaller amounts overpaid not being recouped
and the large amount being recouped more or less straight away.
It seems as if the people who work with staff waging are being a bit incompetent in their job and the council are just covering for them because the council are being incompetent in their job too.
To have large amounts of the council tax payers money being given away through huge mistakes by their staff and not ensuring it is recouped before the end of the financial year is very worrying. It makes me think back to the time not so far back when the gagging effect was in the news with the big payoffs for some.
It might not be big news to some but I am concerned about the smaller amounts overpaid not being recouped and the large amount being recouped more or less straight away. It seems as if the people who work with staff waging are being a bit incompetent in their job and the council are just covering for them because the council are being incompetent in their job too. To have large amounts of the council tax payers money being given away through huge mistakes by their staff and not ensuring it is recouped before the end of the financial year is very worrying. It makes me think back to the time not so far back when the gagging effect was in the news with the big payoffs for some. cas540

10:50pm Sat 28 Dec 13

TheTruthHurts says...

I dont think that the accidental overpayment is really all that much of an issue. The main issue is the £21k that hasnt been repayed, whats going on with that? is it a few large overpayments or lots of smaller ones?
I dont think that the accidental overpayment is really all that much of an issue. The main issue is the £21k that hasnt been repayed, whats going on with that? is it a few large overpayments or lots of smaller ones? TheTruthHurts

10:43am Sun 29 Dec 13

CaroleBaines says...

nowthen wrote:
James Venamun wrote:
Agree with Carole Baines, there surely are bigger sticks to beat the Council with , but York citizens need to be aware that the local authority has undergone massive changes in terms of service/staff restructuring, relocation to West Offices and continuing cuts from central government, so in the wider scheme of things, these over payments- mainly recovered- are of little significance to the public purse. Anyone who knows anything about HR and payroll systems in large organizations will know that these sorts problems are commonplace as administrators have to depend upon liner manager doing staff returns promptly and accurately. This does not happen in CoYC as well as it should, but slowly things are improving.
As for the York Press , unfortunately, you always revert to type when you have slow news days, and that most often involves having a pop at the Council. Perhaps Council staff might feel better about their job if it wasn't for the constant brickbats from the local rag and it's unenterprising desk top journos?
If it wasn't for the local rag, as you call it , most of us mere council tax payers would be less informed about about the goings on of this spinful and secretive Labour led council. The majority of us are very happy with what the council staff and workers do , it's the politically motivated machinations of the cabinet and single issue councillors that gets our backs up. If you don't like what you read in the Press , stick to the Socialist Worker or James Alexander's Twitter feed .
So it is okay to fabricate non-stories that make Council employees look bad then? Think the FOI requests for nonsense like whether staff use Facebook, how much staff spend on uniforms and this nonsense are fair? Seems to me certain hacks abuse FOI to spin very poor copy about employees as much as they do the politicians. I would imagine it is pretty poor for morale to keep reading this garbage for those who are on the Council payroll.

I do have some sympathy re cuts to Press staffing, but if I were served a poor meal in a restaurant I am not sure 'well our profits are a bit down and we have cut staff' would be a good enough excuse. Provide a decent service or accept the business is no longer viable is the rule most of us have to abide by, why not the Press?

Anyway - maybe things will improve, but am not holding my breath.
[quote][p][bold]nowthen[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]James Venamun[/bold] wrote: Agree with Carole Baines, there surely are bigger sticks to beat the Council with , but York citizens need to be aware that the local authority has undergone massive changes in terms of service/staff restructuring, relocation to West Offices and continuing cuts from central government, so in the wider scheme of things, these over payments- mainly recovered- are of little significance to the public purse. Anyone who knows anything about HR and payroll systems in large organizations will know that these sorts problems are commonplace as administrators have to depend upon liner manager doing staff returns promptly and accurately. This does not happen in CoYC as well as it should, but slowly things are improving. As for the York Press , unfortunately, you always revert to type when you have slow news days, and that most often involves having a pop at the Council. Perhaps Council staff might feel better about their job if it wasn't for the constant brickbats from the local rag and it's unenterprising desk top journos?[/p][/quote]If it wasn't for the local rag, as you call it , most of us mere council tax payers would be less informed about about the goings on of this spinful and secretive Labour led council. The majority of us are very happy with what the council staff and workers do , it's the politically motivated machinations of the cabinet and single issue councillors that gets our backs up. If you don't like what you read in the Press , stick to the Socialist Worker or James Alexander's Twitter feed .[/p][/quote]So it is okay to fabricate non-stories that make Council employees look bad then? Think the FOI requests for nonsense like whether staff use Facebook, how much staff spend on uniforms and this nonsense are fair? Seems to me certain hacks abuse FOI to spin very poor copy about employees as much as they do the politicians. I would imagine it is pretty poor for morale to keep reading this garbage for those who are on the Council payroll. I do have some sympathy re cuts to Press staffing, but if I were served a poor meal in a restaurant I am not sure 'well our profits are a bit down and we have cut staff' would be a good enough excuse. Provide a decent service or accept the business is no longer viable is the rule most of us have to abide by, why not the Press? Anyway - maybe things will improve, but am not holding my breath. CaroleBaines

10:50am Sun 29 Dec 13

CaroleBaines says...

TheTruthHurts wrote:
I dont think that the accidental overpayment is really all that much of an issue. The main issue is the £21k that hasnt been repayed, whats going on with that? is it a few large overpayments or lots of smaller ones?
I take your point but surely the £21k is money that was miss-allocated just before the financial year end and will be clawed back just after. Nowhere does it say the money is missing for good, it is just the FOI request has a cut off of year end. In other words, someone is overpaid the day before year end - will doubtless take a month or so to recover.

Am not saying Council payroll are perfect, I have no idea to be honest. I am saying this story all headline and no fact.
[quote][p][bold]TheTruthHurts[/bold] wrote: I dont think that the accidental overpayment is really all that much of an issue. The main issue is the £21k that hasnt been repayed, whats going on with that? is it a few large overpayments or lots of smaller ones?[/p][/quote]I take your point but surely the £21k is money that was miss-allocated just before the financial year end and will be clawed back just after. Nowhere does it say the money is missing for good, it is just the FOI request has a cut off of year end. In other words, someone is overpaid the day before year end - will doubtless take a month or so to recover. Am not saying Council payroll are perfect, I have no idea to be honest. I am saying this story all headline and no fact. CaroleBaines

2:17pm Sun 29 Dec 13

Rocking Horse says...

LibDem wrote:
Yes a bit of a non story but a strange comment from JA. "number of mistakes tend to peak before local elections". The figures - which can be found on the Council web site - actually show the reverse to be the case. The average overpayments made were: 2010/11 £552.51 (pre election year) 2011/12 £980.83 2012/13 £3,559.00 It has more to do with changes to terms and conditions of service, and a high staff turnover, than any election cycle..
JA was being prophetic.

It's a warning of the mistakes his council will be continuing to make in the run up the 2015.

By then, York will have had more than enough of this useless Labour administration and their marxist ideals.
[quote][p][bold]LibDem[/bold] wrote: Yes a bit of a non story but a strange comment from JA. "number of mistakes tend to peak before local elections". The figures - which can be found on the Council web site - actually show the reverse to be the case. The average overpayments made were: 2010/11 £552.51 (pre election year) 2011/12 £980.83 2012/13 £3,559.00 It has more to do with changes to terms and conditions of service, and a high staff turnover, than any election cycle..[/p][/quote]JA was being prophetic. It's a warning of the mistakes his council will be continuing to make in the run up the 2015. By then, York will have had more than enough of this useless Labour administration and their marxist ideals. Rocking Horse

2:20pm Sun 29 Dec 13

Rocking Horse says...

TheTruthHurts wrote:
I dont think that the accidental overpayment is really all that much of an issue. The main issue is the £21k that hasnt been repayed, whats going on with that? is it a few large overpayments or lots of smaller ones?
Exactly, and who are the officers who were overpaid, and why hasn't the money been recovered ?
[quote][p][bold]TheTruthHurts[/bold] wrote: I dont think that the accidental overpayment is really all that much of an issue. The main issue is the £21k that hasnt been repayed, whats going on with that? is it a few large overpayments or lots of smaller ones?[/p][/quote]Exactly, and who are the officers who were overpaid, and why hasn't the money been recovered ? Rocking Horse

5:14pm Sun 29 Dec 13

the butler says...

After reading the above comments, I have to wonder what is the cause of the many staff changes, Why is this system not in question, surely this is also a cost to the City? the Butler
After reading the above comments, I have to wonder what is the cause of the many staff changes, Why is this system not in question, surely this is also a cost to the City? the Butler the butler

5:57pm Sun 29 Dec 13

CaroleBaines says...

Rocking Horse wrote:
LibDem wrote:
Yes a bit of a non story but a strange comment from JA. "number of mistakes tend to peak before local elections". The figures - which can be found on the Council web site - actually show the reverse to be the case. The average overpayments made were: 2010/11 £552.51 (pre election year) 2011/12 £980.83 2012/13 £3,559.00 It has more to do with changes to terms and conditions of service, and a high staff turnover, than any election cycle..
JA was being prophetic.

It's a warning of the mistakes his council will be continuing to make in the run up the 2015.

By then, York will have had more than enough of this useless Labour administration and their marxist ideals.
When you say, Marxist, precisely what do you mean? Even experts fail to pin down a definition of that particular doctrine.
[quote][p][bold]Rocking Horse[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]LibDem[/bold] wrote: Yes a bit of a non story but a strange comment from JA. "number of mistakes tend to peak before local elections". The figures - which can be found on the Council web site - actually show the reverse to be the case. The average overpayments made were: 2010/11 £552.51 (pre election year) 2011/12 £980.83 2012/13 £3,559.00 It has more to do with changes to terms and conditions of service, and a high staff turnover, than any election cycle..[/p][/quote]JA was being prophetic. It's a warning of the mistakes his council will be continuing to make in the run up the 2015. By then, York will have had more than enough of this useless Labour administration and their marxist ideals.[/p][/quote]When you say, Marxist, precisely what do you mean? Even experts fail to pin down a definition of that particular doctrine. CaroleBaines

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