Nottingham City Council paid out over £1 million to employees and members of the public who claimed for compensation in a two-year period, new figures show.
The amount relates to claims such as slips/trips, damage from a tree, premises being defective, breaches of the Data Protection Act, and among other things, water leaks.
The total amount, which stands at £1,154,075, is the amount the council paid out in 2017 and 2018.
Lesser payouts were for ‘Lack of Supervision’, incidents categorised under ‘Needle Stick’ and even compensation on instances where a stone was ‘thrown up from a mower/strimmer’.
Under 30 per cent of the claims were paid out to council employees, with most claims being paid out to the public.
The city council commented on the claims, saying paying out compensation cannot always be avoided.
A city council spokesperson said: “The council provides a huge range of services and unfortunately, some problems where compensation is necessary are inevitable.”
The council handles these claims in-house to ensure they are fully investigated, and payments are only made where it has a “legal duty to pay compensation.”
The spokesperson added: “The vast majority of claims for slips and trips are not upheld as the injured person must be able to clearly evidence, they have been injured due to a breach of duty by the council.
“We have very robust highways maintenance processes in place which means that in up to 90 per cent of cases, we are not to blame.”
A breakdown of some of the amounts paid out can be seen below:
|Detail of compensation paid||Amount paid|
|Use of tools/ Machinery||£124,995.50|
|Damage from Tree||£96,591.78|
|Breach Of DPA||£45,000.00|
|Obstruction/ Defect in Walkway||£31,977.04|
|Trip on Steps/Stairs||£11,451.00|
|Defective Work Equipment||£11,409.43|
|Lack of Supervision||£3,679.00|
|Traffic Calming Measures||£2,246.74|
|Stone Thrown up from Mower/Strimmer||£1,982.19|
|Faulty Car Park Equipment||£1,489.57|
|Failure to Repair||£710.00|
|Discovery of Asbestos||£341.39|
A vast £386,998.50 of the amount paid out was compensation for historical abuse, cases which often included incidents from the past.
The city council spokesperson added: “The City Council has seen an increase in the number of non-recent abuse claims being pursued over the past few years, settling claims brought forward against it by victims who suffered whilst in the care of predecessor organisations.
“This, driven in part due to the publicity surrounding the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, accounts for £387,000 – about a third of the total – and is now in decline after peaking in the last three years.”
When analysed, the data shows where the most money was paid out. £250,800 was paid out in cases related to social care, £226,198.50 to care homes and £137,059.39 to incidents related to people’s homes.
The figures in the data are striking when considering how cash-strapped the city council is, with the taxpayer therefore contributing a sizeable amount.
The need for the council to pay out such hefty amounts has been criticised by public spending campaigners.
John O’Connell, Chief Executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance said: “When a local authority is paying out too much in compensation, it means that it under pressure from frivolous claims or simply not providing the care or service expected of it. It’s crucial that public sector bosses put the right processes in place to deliver good services.”
In response to this, the city council spokesperson said: “While this is clearly a lot of money, we compare well against other councils and do all we can to ensure services are running as smoothly as they can while protecting funds from unnecessary pay-outs when we receive frivolous claims.”