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Flintshire County Council admits second staff payroll blunder

FLINTSHIRE County Council has overpaid staff thousands of pounds in its second payroll gaffe in five months.

The authority is now said to be planning to claw back the cash from affected employees by cutting their pay packets next month.

The blunder comes just five months after human resources chiefs admitted over-paying employees by £330,000 in the past four years – and promising it would not happen again.

The last incident was in December 2010, when some workers had to pay back a combined £175,000 due to a mistake blamed on the council transferring to a new payroll system.

This time the over-payments are believed to total about £46,000.

Cllr Bernie Attridge, deputy leader of Flintshire’s Labour group, said his wife was overpaid by about £600 last year.

He said: “I was promised that this would never happen again after last time, yet here we are less than six months later with the same problem.

“At a time when people are struggling to make ends meet thanks to cuts nationally and locally, our workers can really do without this.

“We have shelled out hundreds of thousands of pounds as a council on sophisticated payroll systems which are supposed to make things easier and stop errors occurring.

“But that is clearly not working and we are just wasting more and more money.”

Cllr Attridge: “I have never seen so much division in the coalition that is running the council and the only people who appear to be suffering are the electorate.”

Helen Stappleton, head of the council’s human resources department, said: “In a large organisation like Flintshire County Council, it is inevitable that there will always be some salary over-payments made to employees.

“We have recently improved our procedures for recovering salary over-payments to ensure that a fair approach is taken.

“There will be instances where it may be appropriate to seek to recover an over-payment within a short time frame, but this is only where the over-payment is below a certain value – and the employee is always given the option to agree a longer period over which recovery can be made.”