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Compensation Awards Against Government Bodies

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Posted (edited)

I've just read of a near-million pound compensation court award to a former employee of Scottish Police.

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2022/may/13/police-scotland-pays-damages-ex-officer-rhona-malone-sexism-case

 

I'm not arguing with the award decision but wish to comment that such payments are made from taxpayer funded budgets and that those guilty of misconduct, that resulted in the payment, rarely suffer more than a reprimand.

 

How can we get a system where all senior management suffer a pay penalty, every time such awards are made?

Only in my dreams, I guess but until something like this happens or people are sacked without payment etc. nothing will ever change despite "lessons being learned".

Edited by cgksheff

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Posted (edited)

Because ultimately, liability action is brought against the company or organisation concerned not the individual employee.

 

Despite all the protest to the contrary, employee rights are in the main still very strong. Institutional failure is a broad brush and it is very rare something is found to be directly at the fault of an individual without the employers also being tarred with alleged failures.   Even if it does miraculously all get pinned on one individual, employee rights again mean that there is little an employer can do other than discipline or dismissal.  With exception of things like criminal activity it is extremely rare an employer would have grounds  to pursue an employee for recoupment of any compensation award paid out to a victim.

 

I get the point you are trying to make, particularly when it is government money, but be careful what you wish for. Would you really want a circumstance where every time you go to work you're terrified that if you make a mistake your employer can turn around and hold you personally and financially responsible for all redress.  Would be a very slippery slope.

Edited by ECCOnoob

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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, cgksheff said:

I've just read of a near-million pound compensation court award to a former employee of Scottish Police.

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2022/may/13/police-scotland-pays-damages-ex-officer-rhona-malone-sexism-case

 

I'm not arguing with the award decision but wish to comment that such payments are made from taxpayer funded budgets and that those guilty of misconduct, that resulted in the payment, rarely suffer more than a reprimand.

 

How can we get a system where all senior management suffer a pay penalty, every time such awards are made?

Only in my dreams, I guess but until something like this happens or people are sacked without payment etc. nothing will ever change despite "lessons being learned".

C'est la Vie.

 

Maybe a digression but,  there are many people in Sheffield that will be paying for South Yorkshire's finest (via their council tax) for the Hillsborough disaster who weren't even born when it happened 🤷‍♂️

 

I agree, there should be more personal responsibility.

Edited by whiteowl

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Posted (edited)
14 hours ago, ECCOnoob said:

Because ultimately, liability action is brought against the company or organisation concerned not the individual employee.

 

Despite all the protest to the contrary, employee rights are in the main still very strong. Institutional failure is a broad brush and it is very rare something is found to be directly at the fault of an individual without the employers also being tarred with alleged failures.   Even if it does miraculously all get pinned on one individual, employee rights again mean that there is little an employer can do other than discipline or dismissal.  With exception of things like criminal activity it is extremely rare an employer would have grounds  to pursue an employee for recoupment of any compensation award paid out to a victim.

 

I get the point you are trying to make, particularly when it is government money, but be careful what you wish for. Would you really want a circumstance where every time you go to work you're terrified that if you make a mistake your employer can turn around and hold you personally and financially responsible for all redress.  Would be a very slippery slope.

Just a point on that, there is no government money, it's ours and always has been. Agree with you  too. A very slippery slope.

Edited by spilldig
Addition.

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Governments are run by a bureaucratic machine, with their Ministries and Derpartments.

 

The elected reps are just tolerated until the next election, and have no real impact on how things are run.

 

It's a club, and they protect each other.

 

Parole Boards can release dangerous criminals, and have no liability for their decisions. It's hard to fire a lifetime civil servant.

 

With a corporation, responsible to the public, and their shareholders, individual bad decisions are not tolerated.

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20 hours ago, ECCOnoob said:

Because ultimately, liability action is brought against the company or organisation concerned not the individual employee.

 

Despite all the protest to the contrary, employee rights are in the main still very strong. Institutional failure is a broad brush and it is very rare something is found to be directly at the fault of an individual without the employers also being tarred with alleged failures.   Even if it does miraculously all get pinned on one individual, employee rights again mean that there is little an employer can do other than discipline or dismissal.  With exception of things like criminal activity it is extremely rare an employer would have grounds  to pursue an employee for recoupment of any compensation award paid out to a victim.

 

I get the point you are trying to make, particularly when it is government money, but be careful what you wish for. Would you really want a circumstance where every time you go to work you're terrified that if you make a mistake your employer can turn around and hold you personally and financially responsible for all redress.  Would be a very slippery slope.

I would never expect individuals to be held financially responsible for all redress.

I would like them to suffer some redress though.

That year's bonus or increment would be a good start.

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47 minutes ago, cgksheff said:

I would never expect individuals to be held financially responsible for all redress.

I would like them to suffer some redress though.

That year's bonus or increment would be a good start.

On what grounds though?  That is where the difficulty arises. What elements was absolutely provable categorically individual failure vs corporate responsibility, firmwide culture, managerial protocols, lack of training lack of supervision etc etc.

 

The point is, although we'd all like to see it,  it isn't that easy and if you apply such sanctions to one element you'd have to apply them fairly across all other elements otherwise the other side will be kicking off, that then creates the sort of culture of fear with employees scared to make any mistake whatsoever for fear of reprisal as I alluded to earlier.

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In this instance, the Chief Constable of Police Scotland should carry the can.

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