Altogether £550,550 was given out through the Covid-19-Related Emergency Support Scheme, which assisted registered migrant workers who have lived in Jersey for fewer than five years and were ineligible for other types of support.
A total of 330 households were helped by the scheme, which provided £150 a week for a single out-of-work person, £250 for a couple and a child supplement of £50.
In the first of a series of reviews of the government’s performance during the pandemic, Comptroller and Auditor General Lynn Pamment has highlighted that 13.7% of the CRESS spend was overpayments, worth £75,690 altogether.
This was identified after the CRESS team checked employment contribution payments to claimants.
Action is being taken to recover the money, £50,890 of which has not been repaid.
Ms Pamment found that there were some ministerial failings in putting together the scheme but also said that the support was needed.
‘The government moved quickly to develop and implement CRESS to support individuals who were not eligible for support under other schemes in place,’ she said.
‘In doing so, an appropriate balance was struck between the speed of response to the claimant and the controls put in place to guard against the risk of inappropriate payments.
‘CRESS provided support that was needed. However, it was difficult to administer due to the extent of the manual administrative processes required in a scheme set up quickly and without time to develop supporting IT systems.
‘Going forward, the lessons learned from CRESS should be used to provide valuable input into the design of future schemes.’
A statement produced by the Jersey Audit Office noted some shortcomings in the establishment of CRESS but said that officers had learnt lessons from it.
‘The CAG noted that the business case supporting CRESS did not set out the risk appetite in relation to the scheme and its impact on the level of acceptable risk to be borne,’ it says.
‘The Council of Ministers acknowledged that the implementation of CRESS at pace meant that there had been insufficient time for officers to review and stress-test the new procedures.
‘The CAG found that a framework of internal controls was implemented to manage the scheme. She also noted that the CRESS team has assessed the key lessons from designing and operating the scheme.’
Other emergency support schemes established during the pandemic include the Co-funded Payroll Scheme, under which more than £100 million of public money has been paid out to subsidise staff wages for struggling businesses.
The government was contacted for comment but the JEP did not receive a response before going to print.