Sickness absence or systematic fraud?

2005

It beggars belief what sort or management culture can allow this sort of thing to go – especially since it the taxpayer who has to foot the bill.

From today's Evening Standard:

A prison officer at Holloway jail who was on sick leave for more than a year had in fact emigrated to New Zealand, a report reveals today. . . .

A management team sent to the prison to crack down on sickness absence found the officer, a woman, had continued to provide sick notes from a GP, despite having moved to the other side of the world.

The officer missed a key appointment in London arranged by the jail's new managers and was sacked with no compensation when details came to light.

The report, by the influential Public Accounts Committee, found prison managers had little or no contact with many officers on long-term sick leave for more than a year - and in two cases, more than two years.

A pharmacist who took a month's holiday every year in Sri Lanka, his home country, remained there for "a further month or so" on sick leave. "This had happened in the three years previously but no challenges appeared to have been made," the report states.

The Standard also points out that in 2002, staff at the jail took an average of almost 36 days sick a year - more than seven weeks each – while 55 members of staff were on long-term sick pay.

Perhaps prosecuting the individual who had emigrated for fraud (what else would you call it?) would put a stop to this sort of thing.

Evening Standard | Officer who called in sick had emigrated

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