AN employee who left their job at Fife Council continued to be paid for almost a year and a half and received more than £20,000 they weren't entitled to.

The local authority admitted the blunder hadn't been picked up for 17 months and that they were trying to get the money back from the former worker.

Service manager Pamela Redpath, from audit and risk management services, said: "The (payroll) service have identified one overpayment for an employee who left the council on September 1, 2019.

"They continued to be paid until February 2021, resulting in an overpayment of £20,288.

"The ex-employee has been invoiced for the full amount and recovery is in progress."

Her report, which recently went before councillors on the standards and audit committee added: "Audit services are investigating the circumstances surrounding this overpayment, a report will be issued along with any recommendations in due course."

Ms Redpath said that, as part of the National Fraud Initiative (NFI) run by Audit Scotland, they had also discovered that 16 people who had died were still being paid a pension.

Participation gives the council access to data from other organisations and allows them to compare their computer records against records held by the same or another body to identify matches.

Where a match is found, it indicates an inconsistency and further investigation is needed before it can be ascertained if it is fraud.

As a result of the "deceased persons information" provided as part of the NFI exercise, 16 pensions with a gross annual pension amount of £42,472 were stopped.

There was overpayment of £4,548 and the next of kin for three pensions have been contacted "with recovery in progress".

However the council have been "unable to contact the next of kin for the 13 remaining pensions amounting to £3,983".

They were identified as errors but Ms Redpath said a separate incident, which had resulted in an overpayment of £6,601, had been reported to Police Scotland as pension fraud.

She added: "Police Scotland have identified the individual who submitted the fraudulent bank mandate and have initially cautioned him with fraud.

"Following the caution, the full amount has been repaid."

Information sharing on deceased people also led to 275 Blue Badge parking permits being cancelled in Fife.

Ms Redpath said: " In part the council relies on the 'Tell Us Once' process.

"This may be undertaken by members of the public when registering a death and informs relevant services so they can take appropriate action and update their records.

"However, the process is voluntary and relies on the completeness and accuracy of information provided by members of the public at a time which may be difficult for them."