A BLUNDER which saw a vulnerable young person overpaid by almost £300,000 was a “very embarrassing situation” for Fife Council.

Two members of staff failed to carry out checks and finance chief Les Robertson told councillors that "heads will roll" if there's any repeat.

The resident was due to receive £59.95 a month but a typing error meant £59,395 was lodged into their account instead.

The payments were made five times during July and August last year before red-faced council officials discovered the mistake, amounting to almost £297,000.

An internal investigation was carried out and, at the standards and audit committee recently, Mr Robertson said: "A very new junior member of staff made an error when inputting data into a spreadsheet.

"We have controls that mean it should have been checked.

“When inputting data, a confirmation box would have popped up to ask if the £59,000 was correct and they would have clicked confirm.

“Any payments over £5,000 are then flagged up with a senior team member who then also failed to carry out the correct checks, resulting in this payment.

"It was a one-off, but a fairly significant one-off.”

Inverkeithing and Dalgety Bay councillor Dave Dempsey said: “I don’t really know what to say to this.

"The question nags is there any other possibilities that may be lurking out there?”

Mr Robertson said that new checks had been put in place so they wouldn’t expect this to happen again.

However, he added: “I can’t guarantee it wouldn’t happen again but I can guarantee if it did, heads will roll.”

The council had to ask for the money back and, in October when the issue first came to light, there was more than £12,000 still to be recovered.

The recipient was asked to repay the money in instalments.

At the time, MSP Willie Rennie, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader, said: “Although everyone can make a mistake, this is a hefty one.

“The majority of the funds have been recovered but it is concerning that it took so long for the system to pick up this error."