A company as large and well-known as the BBC would, you might think, have no problems at all when it comes to organising its payroll. But it seems that there have been some huge, glaring errors made that amount to something in the region of £1.45 million.
This is all due to over-payments to its staff. This is the first problem, and one that should have been avoided by careful monitoring and checks. However, this has in fact been going on for a number of years now, and in the last year the mistakes actually rose by 20 percent!
Over the last four years alone, £240,000 has had to be written off by the BBC’s accountants as it cannot be reclaimed and there is no point in continuing to chase it. Although overpayments can be recouped through deductions in future pay for current employees, when it comes to those who have now left the BBC, or who were on short term contracts to begin with, it is frustratingly difficult to claw back any of the money – so the BBC has instead cut its losses and given up on the idea completely. Although the ex-staff have been warned that, if they ever return to the BBC for work their over-payments can and will still be deducted, there is little else that can be done at this point.
Last year, £1.45 million was over-paid to 584 employees. 305 of the employees have, between them, repaid £934,000, and a further 75 employees have repayment plans in place, which add up to about £242,000. But there are still 204 cases (worth approximately £204,000) outstanding.
The BBC spokesperson has said that such over-payments are rare, it is a problem that has been going on for some years now. And John O’Connell, the chief executive of the Tax Payers’ Alliance, confirms this, saying that although a one off mistake is understandable, such a long term problem is no longer forgivable. It is causing issues for the BBC, and also for the people who now have to pay back money that they were issued by mistake, but which they accepted in good faith, not knowing the ins and outs of the taxation system.