Service that paid 1,300 Hampshire police officers incorrectly called ‘pioneering’ on day blunder exposed

Police officers have been paid incorrectly

Police officers have been paid incorrectly

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A NATIONAL organisation has called a system that saw 1,300 police officers paid incorrectly ‘pioneering’.

H3 combines back office payroll with Hampshire police, fire service and the county council.

I don’t know who the Local Government Association has been talking to because they certainly haven’t been talking to police officers or staff who’ve had to use the system for the last 12 months

John Apter

But yesterday, when it emerged 1,300 police officers were under or overpaid, the Local Government Association hailed it as an example that other councils and public services should follow.

John Apter is chairman of Hampshire Police Federation. He said the situation was a ‘nightmare’.

He said: ‘I don’t know who the Local Government Association has been talking to because they certainly haven’t been talking to police officers or staff who’ve had to use the system for the past 12 months.’

Mr Apter said working in partnership was good in principle, but added: ‘The delivery of it has been far from excellent and it’s been concerning.’

He has called for a ‘forensic audit’ of H3 to see if it is saving cash.

H3 was introduced in November 2014 and the county council has since taken on work for Oxfordshire County Council as well.

In the payroll error this month there were 678 underpayments for unsocial hours and 684 overpayments. More than 600 underpayments were for less than £100 and no underpayment was more than £155.

A spokeswoman pointed out that in 12 months there has been a 0.1 per cent error rate.

People receiving underpayment on February 15 were paid the rest of the cash the next day.

‘We sincerely apologise for the error and any difficulties this may have caused individuals. We are working to ensure that things are resolved as quickly as possible,’ the spokeswoman said.

She added the service aims to save £4m a year and covers 80,000 employees.

Yesterday the LGA urged councils to take part in schemes such as H3 to save cash.

It described H3 as a ‘pioneering new partnership’.

Acting deputy chief constable David Pryde said: ‘We were already working with colleagues across the H3 partnership to make sure we understand the root of any problems and find long-term solutions.

Hampshire’s police and crime commissioner Simon Hayes said: ‘The issue with overpayment to police officers was regrettable and I will be looking to the H3 partner Hampshire County Council to investigate the issue and ensure it does not re-occur.

‘Having spoken to the Hampshire Police Federation I am reassured that the options offered for repayment provides flexible arrangements for the officers affected.’

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