Staff employeed to check fraudulent working tax credit payments provided by HM Revenue & Customs have been paid millions of pounds to do no work, as the IT systems they needed to use were faulty.
The news was revealed by Accountancy Age, which was informed of the situation by a whistleblower.
The problem occurred last year when 600 newly recruited staff in Belfast, employed in a £75m, three-year outsourcing deal by US business services firm Concentrix, were tasked with checking on erroneous or fraudulent UK working tax credit payments.
A Concentrix staff member told Accountancy Age that the staff received three weeks' training in August 2014 before the system was meant to go live on 1 September.
However, staff were then told that the computers they were using couldn't ‘talk' to HMRC's wider system on the mainland.
The staff, with an average full-time salary of £15,000, were subsequently told to ‘clock in' for duty once a week for a few hours to see whether the system was operational.
When, each week, it was not, they were sent home and paid 75 percent of their full-time wages - 30 hours out of 40.
This went on every week throughout September, October and November. The system went live in the first week of December, three months late. This means that around £2m was wasted on wages as a result of the IT bungle.
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