MORE than £300,000 has been overpaid to council staff in a three year period following a series of payroll blunders.

In July the Leader reported that £175,000 was wrongly paid to Flintshire Council workers between April 2009 and June 2010.

But new figures have revealed the extent of overpayments over three years.

It has emerged that £330,279.81 has been overpaid to workers since 2007 with council bosses blaming late notification of employees leaving as the main reason for the errors.

Eighty overpayments were made in 2007 totalling £54,771.93 and 114 in 2008 worth £66,986.03.

Sixty-two overpayments were made in 2009 totalling £53,390.40 and 156 overpayments were made from January to July this year worth £155,131.45.

Connah’s Quay councillor Bernie Attridge decided to investigate after his wife Leanne, who works as a school transport escort, received a letter informing her she had been overpaid by almost £500 in the last financial year.

Cllr Attridge told the Leader: “The amount of overpayments and the reasons for them is very frightening.

“Better procedures need to be put in place so this does not happen again.

“It is fine if the money can all be recovered but what happens when it can’t be recovered? The ratepayers of Flintshire are losing out then.

“It is very worrying especially in these econmonic times of trouble when the money could be better spent on front line services.

“I’m hoping through the Leader we can raise awareness of this and ensure it does not happen again.”

Helen Stappleton, Flintshire Council’s head of human resources, said:
“Unfortunately the council has made a number of overpayments of salary to some of its employees.

“While we are not complacent about this, these overpayments need to be kept in proportion.

“We have nearly 9,000 employees and the value of these overpayments represents a very small proportion of the council’s total pay bill.

“Last year there was a significant decrease in overpayments.

“However during the last eight months we have been conducting an audit exercise on our payroll system which has resulted in identifying further overpayments.

“We have made appropriate arrangements with employees to recover these overpayments and have ensured practices and procedures are reviewed to avoid further repetition.”