The Central Bank paid €32,000 to a person who never worked for the financial body, a report from the Comptroller and Auditor General has found.
The case was one of a number highlighted in the watchdog’s report on the management of severance payments in public sector bodies from 2011 to 2013.
The C&AG has estimated the total value of severance awarded in this period under six public sector schemes was €17.9m.
In another case, the C&AG found that a ministerial assistant was paid an €8,000 severance package, even though the person was rehired by a former minister as a secretarial assistance just five days after leaving the post.
The C&AG described four severance cases within the Central Bank, with a total cost of about €342,000, as “noteworthy”. Two of the cases involved employees — each of whom had less than two years’ service — and a long-term contractor who had never been an employee of the bank.
The Central Bank yesterday said the case involving the recruit who was never hired arose when it became aware of issues around the “banks code of ethics and pre-employment processes” after the person in question had been offered a position.
A Central Bank spokesperson said it could not divulge further information on the case due to confidentiality agreements. It said that it settled the case for €32,000 plus €25,000 legal costs; the C&AG found the overall total cost of the case was more than €73,000.
In its report, the C&AG recommended that the cases “suggest that the Central Bank needs to review its procedures for managing recruitment and probation”.
The Central Bank said the cases “arose in a period of both unprecedented renewal and growth of the bank, where staff numbers grew by approximately one third between 2009 and 2013”. However, it agreed with the recommendation.
In a separate case, the report revealed that a former minister rehired an individual under a secretarial assistance scheme, five days after employment had ceased under the ministerial appointments scheme.
While initial instructions indicated a severance payment was not due as the individual was re-employed by the Oireachtas, this was subsequently reversed and the Department of Public Expenditure ruled the person had been made redundant. It was decided the person was therefore entitled to a severance payment, and received a payment of about €8,000.
In light of the case, the C&AG recommended that the Department of Public Expenditure issue guidelines that “should clarify the rules that apply in relation to employment movements between the two schemes”. The department agreed and said it is “reviewing guidance in this area”.
Overall the C&AG found “broad compliance with scheme rules in most cases, with the exception of the scheme for chief executives of State bodies”.
It found that ‘added years’ had been awarded to the pensions of chief executives by two bodies without the approval of the Department of Public Expenditure.
The estimated cost of pension enhancements awarded in the two cases amounted to a total of over €1m.
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