Compensation claims are costing local authorities in Tayside and Fife hundreds of thousands of pounds, new statistics have revealed.
More than £600,000 was paid out across Dundee, Fife, Angus and Perth and Kinross, from April 2015-March 2017. Examples of compensation claims made include pothole repairs, damage by council employees, slips and falls, and flooding.
One of the highest payouts in the last eight years was a claim for £122,000 after a resident in Dundee slipped on an “icy surface”.
Alex Wild, research director of the Taxpayers Alliance, said councils have a “duty” to provide the best possible use of public funds. He said: “Obviously if a council is in the wrong people have a right to compensation, but councils also have a duty to taxpayers.
“A pothole costs about £40 to repair but the costs to councils of not repairing them can be huge if someone’s car gets damaged because of one. Some local authorities have schemes whereby volunteers repair potholes and this is a model that others should look to follow.”
A £1.2 million has been paid out by Dundee City Council since 2010, with £276,000 handed out in a single year in 2013-14.
Between 2015-16 and 2016-17, Fife Council was required to pay more than £50,000 for claims relating to education, such as “lack of supervision” and “accidents,” and almost £60,000 for housing-related issues such as flooding and damp.
Dundee City Council said every claim is “carefully investigated” with the investigation process also helping build a better picture of where claims are being made so they can be addressed “at the source”.
It also said only 17% of claims made in the past eight years resulted in compensation being paid out.
Angus Council said: “Individual claims are rigorously assessed and upheld or refused as appropriate.
“At the same time, we continuously look at ways in which we can to reduce the possibilities for claims to be made.”
Elaine Muir, of Fife Council, said: “We regularly review our risk management processes. This includes analysing claim data and comparing our performance against other local authorities to identify trends and any intervention required to reduce the number of incidents and associated costs.”
Perth and Kinross Council would not comment.