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Force wastes £26,000 after miscalculating compensation

Problem following legal ruling is latest in long list of mistakes which has seen officers paid incorrectly
Published - 17/03/2016 By - Helena Hickey - Police Oracle

A force's payroll scheme has been slammed as “totally unacceptable” after another error saw officers being paid incorrectly.

A partnership between Hampshire Police, the county council and the fire and rescue service which sees the three organisations share services including payroll and HR has been beset with issues since its introduction in 2014.

Only last month, 1,300 officers were paid incorrectly after an “admin error” and further problems have now been identified relating to 'Bear Scotland' payments.

A national legal ruling in 2014 identified the need for all forces to pay compensation for loss of holiday pay to those working overtime or claiming other allowances.

Following the case, the Police Federation and the NPCC agreed in December last year that forces had two options – to calculate and pay each officer a compensation allowance relating to their own circumstances, or pay everyone a flat rate of £60 – with Hampshire Police choosing the first option.

However, it now says that in doing so mistakes were made, with a three month period being used to determine the compensation amount rather than being based on an annual calculation.

“This approach has, inadvertently, created winners and losers. In addition, an error was made that resulted in 400 officers being compensated by the wrong amount,” said a force statement.

“As a result, a decision has been taken to pay everyone the £60 flat rate option. Those who were paid compensation of more than £60 will not have the compensation taken back.”

If the force had applied the £60 option originally, it would have cost £180,180 but will now amount to £207,032 – meaning it has lost out on £26,852.

The force said the flat rate option has been supported by Hampshire Police Federation, but chairman John Apter said the current incident is just another example of how the scheme is unfit for purpose.

“Since the introduction of H3 we have lurched from one crisis to another,” he said.

“There have been numerous issues including large scale errors which have affected officers pay. We have now reached the point that when an officer looks at their pay slip its a guessing game as to whether it is correct or not, this is totally unacceptable.

“Police officers now have little if any confidence in H3 providing even the most basic of services, the partnership has no credibility amongst those it has let down.”

He added that he will be raising the issue “as a matter of urgency” with incoming Chief Constable Olivia Pinkney when she joins the force next month.

Hampshire County Council Chief Executive John Coughlan said he was working with the force to look at the problems and that progress was being made.

“We’d like to apologise to anyone impacted. Our aim is to deliver the best support service, so vital public sector services are protected as much as possible,” he said.

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