The Compensation Scheme for Former Icelandic Water Trawlermen

HC 530, Report by the Comptroller and Auditor General, Session 2006-2007

National Audit Office (NAO)
TSO (The Stationery Office)
The Compensation Scheme for Former Icelandic Water Trawlermen - Front
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In the 1970s the UK Government made agreements to end the 'Cod Wars' with Iceland, which meant that UK vessels could no longer fish in Icelandic waters, leading to the decline of distant water fishing. Trawlermen were not entitled to compensation according to the interpretation of employment law at that time, but this decision was challenged in 1993. In response, the Department for Employment set up an ex gratia scheme to compensate former trawlermen who had not sought redundancy at the time of their original dismissal. This scheme was further challenged by trawlermen, because it did not take account of the fact that many trawlermen often changed vessels and employers.

In July 2000 the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) announced a compensation scheme to compensate former UK-based trawlermen who had worked in Icelandic waters. By March 2007 the Department had paid just under 43 million in respect of 4,400 claims out of about 7,000 former trawlermen.

'The Compensation Scheme for Former Icelandic Water Trawlermen (HC 530)' examines the compensation scheme to former Icelandic water trawlermen, and follows an earlier report from the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman ('Put Together in Haste: 'Cod Wars' Trawlermen's Compensation Scheme (HC 313)', ISBN 0102944474, available below). The report had highlighted three areas of maladministration and this National Audit Office report looks at the value for money issues.

The report's main findings and conclusions include:

  • The compensation scheme had significant shortcomings which inhibited efficient and effective delivery of the scheme objectives.

  • The Department had not known enough about the fishing industry, particularly its structure and working practices, to draw up workable scheme rules.

  • The scheme required a clear plan of implementation with targets and risk assessment.

  • The scheme cost 18 million more than the initial estimate of 25 million.

  • Some claims took a long time to process due to problems with quality and availability of evidence and the interpretation of the scheme rules the Department did allocate extra resources to deal with this.

  • Out of a sample of 100 claims, 11 cases were found where former trawlermen were overpaid and underpaid, and such problems stemmed from the Department's lack of evidence when assessing whether claims were eligible for payment under the scheme rules.

Extent 28 pages ISBN 9780102945621
Size A4 Price £8.75
Format Paperback Published 29 Jun 2007
Availability Colour copy: 3 - 5 days Availability help (opens in new window) Delivery Delivery options and charges
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