£4m compo payout bill for council

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WIGAN Council has had to fork out £4m in compensation over the last three years – while facing cuts of £64m.

People being injured at work, falls on highways, slips and an assault cost the local authority this hefty sum at a time it could least afford it.

In the year 2009/10 the top five claims included more than £100,000 being spent on an assault claim, over £100,000 on falls and almost £25,000 in a case involving machinery.

The next year saw more than £120,000 awarded for an injury incurred by a falling object, and it again had to spend over £200,000 in fall claims. Three of these were falling on a highway.

In 2011/12 nearly £200,000 was spent on a case involving a slip on a wet floor, £100,00 awarded for injuries within council premises. Nearly £70,000 went to compensating a fall injury and almost £50,000 was paid out after an injury occurred with lifting equipment.

John Mitchell, Wigan Council Head of Legal and Risk said: “The specific injuries could lead to the identification of the individuals so we’re not able to disclose more detail.

“Despite the Council defending these cases as strongly as possible, the injuries sustained were supported by medical opinions, and judged by the courts to be permanent, leading to an inability to continue in their previous employment role.

“This has a long term impact on earnings, and ultimately on the claimants’ pensions. The compensation amounts are set by the courts, and reflect this, although these large amounts typically contain around 40 per cent in claimants’ legal fees.”

“All claims are paid out of the insurance fund.”

The figures were obtained under a Freedom of Information Act request.