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Armed Forces: Pay

Volume 698: debated on Monday 21 January 2008

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What was the total number of (a) overpayments, and (b) underpayments made to service personnel for each month in 2007; and [HL1296]

What was the maximum (a) underpayment, and (b) overpayment made to any individual in the armed services through the joint personnel administration scheme in 2007; and [HL1297]

Whether the errors relating to underpayments and overpayments under the operation of the joint personnel administration scheme have been rectified; and, if not, how long they will take; and [HL1298]

Whether service personnel who have been underpaid by the joint personnel administration scheme have been repaid the full sum to which they were entitled; and [HL1299]

Whether action has been taken more quickly to rectify overpayments by the joint personnel administration scheme rather than underpayments; and how overpayments have been rectified. [HL1300]

The number of over and underpayments made to Armed Forces personnel in each month between January and November 2007 is provided in the table below. During this period 2.4 million payments (including supplementary payments) were made via the joint personnel administration system. The notes to the table detail the range of identified over and underpayments, the remedial actions taken, and the associated timescales involved in correcting the errors.

Delays or errors in individual payments can also occur as the result of late or incorrect inputs by individuals or unit human resources staff . We do not hold data on this.

All pay errors are rectified as soon as possible with no difference in priority between over and underpayments. Where an overpayment has occurred the Ministry of Defence will seek to recover the moneys owed in accordance with the Department Managing Public Funds (formerly Government Accounting) regulations. Armed Forces personnel who have been underpaid can request cash supplements equivalent to the underpayments from their units.

Month

Overpaid

Underpaid

Total

Notes

January

161

1,383

1,544

See Note 1

February

70

0

70

March

229

54

283

April

13,908

252

14,160

See Note 2

May

0

1,181

4,521

See Note 3

June

0

90

90

July

2,978

416

3,394

See Note 4

August

0

46,305

46,305

See Note 5

September

0

722

4,971

See Note 6

October

213

50

263

November

1,987

311

2,298

See Note 7

Total

19,546

50,764

77,899

See Notes 3 and 6

Notes (specifically relating to months with 500-plus overpayments/underpayments):

1. Comprised 763 underpayments ranging from £98 to £348 due to a JPA formula error, fixed in month and 620 substitution pay errors (~£150 underpaid) fixed in February.

2. A decision was made not to recover some elements of service debt and miscellaneous charges until data accuracy on transition could be proved (13,908). Some of the underpayments (~100) were caused by non-receipt of payable orders while 121 were caused by Late Entry Majors not being transitioned to their correct pay scale and was corrected in June.

3. The majority of the 1,181 underpayments were caused by University Officer Training Corps input of bounties and training nights; other factors were mess subscriptions and disturbance allowance. The majority of the underpayments were resolved in May and June. There were a further 3,340 minor errors due to migration of some data elements which were mainly resolved in June, though the breakdown of underpayments versus overpayments is unknown.

4. The majority of the overpayments (2,611) were due to double payment of the female clothing grant (£4.50). The underpayments relate to late input of Cadet Force Home to Duty, which was resolved in month.

5. Comprised 35,553 incorrect deductions of £3.00 for the discontinued Royal Navy and Royal Marines Dependants' Fund, and 10,752 underpayments of Home to Duty Travel claims for Royal Navy reservists. The former was re-credited to pay accounts in October, and the latter in September.

6. 4,249 additional cases occurred where an incorrect rank on JPA generated an erroneous payment. The breakdown between underpayments and overpayments is unknown, corrective action was taken in time for the October 2007 pay run.

7. A formula error resulted in 1,978 personnel receiving incorrect refunds of accommodation and CILOT charges. Corrective action was taken in November 2007.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether senior civil servants in the Ministry of Defence are paid through the joint personnel administration scheme; and, if not, whether they are likely to consider any such proposal. [HL1301]

Senior civil servants in the Ministry of Defence are paid through the People, Pay and Pensions Agency's payroll service to Civil Service staff. There are no plans to change that arrangement.