Southwark Council accidentally overpaid Bupa Care Homes over £450,000 due to a series of ‘clerical errors’, it has been revealed.
The details were uncovered in an audit report after a review of reports to Bupa’s Collingwood and Havelock nursing homes.
The report said: “In particular, Bupa referenced two clients, in regards to whom, significant sums had been paid with a combined overpayment of £130,886.50.
“On August 27, 2020, the council processed a clawback of £123,333.48, after adjusting annual uplift underpayments.
“But instead of clawing back, they made a payment of further £123,333.48 due to a clerical error.
“After investigation, the process manager in the council’s financial control and processing team confirmed on September 9, 2020, that double the previous amount would have to be clawed back.”
Further overpayments were made with the council telling Bupa this figure had increased to over £450,000 as of 30 September 2020.
The report added: “Bupa only agree to a partial refund of £344,736.47, as further discrepancies were identified in the evidence and calculation sent to them by the team manager placements.
“The council accepted the partial refund of £344,736.47 and is currently investigating the outstanding balance of £108,214, with ongoing assistance from internal audit.”
The review concluded there were “significant gaps” related to processing payments.
Thomas Sharp, Director of Finance Operations for Bupa, said: “We contacted Southwark Council on multiple occasions to flag discrepancies in their payments, and have since worked proactively to help them identify the errors. As a result, we resolved the matter at the start of the year.”
Bupa said the issue was fully resolved on March 2021. A spokesperson said the care home provider had a longstanding, positive relationship with the council and continue to work together to provide quality care for local residents.
A spokesperson for Southwark Council said the money was being recovered and errors had been made by both parties.