Torbay Care Trust Staff Overpaid By £50k

EIGHT members of staff were being paid by both Torbay Council and Torbay Care Trust at the same time, it has been revealed. The Herald Express reported yesterday three workers had been sacked from Torbay Care Trust after receiving double pay packets.

The authorities say up to £50,000 of wages were overpaid into their accounts for between a year and 14 months after their jobs were transferred from the council to the health authority.

A trust spokesman confirmed the three who were sacked were paid while investigations were carried out, and court action is being used to recover the full amount.

However, it has now been disclosed a further five staff were also getting two pay packets at the same time, but flagged up the overpayment.

Torbay Care Trust says this money, totalling £14,000, is being paid back by staff.

Despite an investigation, suspensions and three dismissals, a spokesman for Torbay Council confirmed the first council members heard about the incident was off the back of a Herald Express inquiry on Friday.

A spokesman said: “This was an operational, management issue affecting a small number of trust staff and would therefore not be routinely raised with members.”

A joint statement issued by the council and the health authority said: “A review of the payroll system was conducted by the care trust in early 2007 after it was notified by five members of staff that they had continued to receive payment from Torbay Council for a short period following their transfer to the care trust.

“These five staff are fully cooperating with the trust to return any money paid in error.

“However, the review identified anomalies in the pay of three further members of staff who had failed to alert either organisation of the issue.

“Swift action was taken to suspend these employees to enable in-depth investigations to take place.

“The care trust immediately alerted Torbay Council which ensured the payments to these staff were stopped.

“In strict accordance with the trust’s procedures, these staff remained on its payroll while three separate investigations were carried out. These culminated in disciplinary hearings and the dismissal of all three staff.

“The period over which these staff were receiving pay from both organisations ranged from 12 to 14 months, and amounted to total overpayment of less than £50,000.”

The statement added: “These were isolated but serious incidents, and the trust and council have taken all appropriate steps to minimise financial loss caused as a result. A significant amount of money has been reclaimed through the county court and action continues to recover outstanding funds.

“We would again like to stress there has been no impact on health and social care services care as a result of these cases. However, this issue does make it clear misconduct of this nature will not be tolerated by either organisation and will be dealt with very seriously.”