Council’s £78k compensation bill revealed

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Almost 180 accidents and incidents at Derry & Strabane Council-run sites have been reported over the nine months to the start of this year, the ‘Journal’ can reveal this morning.

It has also emerged that from April 1st, 2015 to the start of January 2016, more than £78,000 has been paid out in compensation.

Information obtained from Derry City & Strabane District Council through the Freedom of Information Act, reveal that the total number of accidents and incidents involving members of the public and council workers stood at 178 at the end of the third quarter of the current financial year.

This averages out at three reported incidents every four days!

The vast majority of these episodes- 144- relate to the Health and Community Section of the council’s work, which includes public events and leisure services.

While the council has failed to provide a breakdown of the specific locations where the incidents occurred, 21 incidents and accidents involved the Council’s Environment and Regeneration Section, a further 11 related to the Business and Culture Section and two more were to do with Supporting Services.

A Council spokesperson said that these figures “are based on total numbers recorded per section in relation to both employee and member of the public incidents.”

She said: “The figures are reflective of an expected trend within council services areas, where Health and Community have the majority of recorded member of the public incidents, whilst Environment and Regeneration generate the most employee incidents based on majority of front line staff in this section.”

Over this period, 15 incidents involving members of the public and a further six involving staff were deemed serious enough to be reported to the Northern Ireland Health and Safety Executive under RIDDOR (Reporting Of Injuries, Disease and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations).

In terms of claims for recompense submitted against the Council, the spokesperson said: “For the period from April 1st, 2015 to December 31st, 2015, there have been 13 claims submitted against the council due to accidents or incidents on its property or involving its staff.

“Over this nine month period a total of £78,200 has been paid out in compensation. There were a total of eight recipients, and the payments relate to claims dating from 2009 to 2015. I am not aware of any non-monetary actions taken.”

Of the compensation payments issued, five relate to trips and falls, while one involved an incident at a swimming pool, another damage to vehicles and another is listed simply as ‘miscellaneous’.