Injury, damage and negligence payouts by State up 50% in 2015

State Claims Agency awards and costs reach €219.3m, up from €141.4m in 2014 - C&AG

Awards and associated costs of the SCA in 2015 amounted to a total of €219.3 million. This represents a more than 50 per cent increase on the 2014 figure of €141.4 million. File photograph: Getty Images

Awards and associated costs of the SCA in 2015 amounted to a total of €219.3 million. This represents a more than 50 per cent increase on the 2014 figure of €141.4 million. File photograph: Getty Images

 

Awards and associated costs paid out by the State for personal injury, property damage and clinical negligence increased by more than 50 per cent last year, according to the State’s spending watchdog.

The National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) manages compensation claims of this nature on behalf of certain State authorities. The figures are contained in the Comptroller and Auditor General’s (C&AG) 2015 report on State spending.

The NTMA also has a risk management role, advising and assisting State authorities in minimising their claim exposures. When performing these functions, the NTMA is known as the State Claims Agency (SCA).

Awards and associated costs of the SCA in 2015 amounted to a total of €219.3 million. This represents a more than 50 per cent increase on the 2014 figure of €141.4 million. These costs are recoupable from the relevant State authorities availing of the SCA services.

In addition, the NTMA incurred €15.7 million, up from €13.5 million in 2014, in administrative costs in the performance of its SCA functions.

The number of claims under management has “increased significantly” since 2010. However, the number of claims resolved has remained “fairly static”.

Over the last number of years, the estimated cost of settling claims has been “steadily increasing”. The cost of settling the claims that were outstanding at the end of 2015 has been estimated by the SCA at €1.79 billion, up from €1.47 billion in 2014.

Separately, expenditure incurred by the NTMA on NewERA (New Economy and Recovery Authority) activities in 2015 was about €6.2 million. NewERA provides financial advice to Government Ministers with respect to ESB, Ervia, Irish Water, EirGrid, Bord na Móna, and Coillte.

This expenditure was mainly in relation to the provision and/or procurement of advice to Ministers on a total of 72 submissions made by commercial State bodies.

These included the reorganisation of Ervia with the establishment of Gas Networks Ireland, the first joint venture between Bord na Móna and Coillte in relation to a wind farm, and the sale of the State’s shareholding in Aer Lingus.