Suffolk Coastal: Red-faced officials ask European Election polling clerks to repay nearly £5k after payroll error

Poll staff asked to repay money

Poll staff asked to repay money - Credit: PA

Red-faced Suffolk Coastal officials have asked polling clerks to return nearly £5,000 after paying them four times the going rate for training.

The overpayment to nearly 150 clerks came after they were given their instructions for last month’s European Election.

A spokesman for Suffolk Coastal District Council said: “We can confirm that a clerical error led to the Poll Clerks being overpaid by £40 for their training fee.

“We have written to the Poll Clerks and apologised for this error but also explained we are required to recover the overpayment, as this is taxpayers’ money provided by central Government solely for the purpose of funding the European Election.

“The mistake happened after a payroll system was set up, following the introduction of new rules around the payment of tax by those employed on election duties. Unfortunately, a clerical error occurred when the data was transferred to the payroll system, leading to the Poll Clerks being overpaid for training.

“Whilst we are sorry for any inconvenience and disappointment, the Poll Clerks were aware they would receive a £10 training fee. This is a genuine error which we have taken prompt action to rectify and will ensure is not repeated in the future.”

Around 400 people were employed on election duties on a casual basis. Clerks received £10 for on-line training. Other election staff underwent in-depth training, personally attending a course for which the set rate was £50.

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After the elections, it was discovered 149 clerks had been paid at the higher rate, so they had been overpaid by £40. They must repay £32 as £8 tax was deducted at source