SCOTTISH Borders Council has still to settle 46 outstanding claims over equal pay - almost a decade after the Single Status Agreement was implemented in the region.

The Accounts Commission has carried out a major review into how effectively councils have implemented the Agreement, which was introduced in 1999 to harmonise the pay structures of different groups of council employees and to help eradicate historic inequalities.

A new report has highlighted widespread problems encountered by local authorities across the country.

The vast majority of potential equal pay claims were settled by agreement in the Scottish Borders following its implementation in November 2008.

But a total of 154 claims were lodged with the Employment Tribunal – and 46 of them remain outstanding.

Figures released by The Accounts Commission show that a total of £4.3 million in compensation payments were made by Scottish Borders Council following the Single Status Agreement.

And the total shoots up to £5.9 million when legal costs and settled tribunal claims are added.

A spokesperson for SBC said: “Scottish Borders Council is committed to equality of opportunity for all and the principle of equal pay for equal work.

“The Single Status Agreement was implemented in Scottish Borders in November 2008.

"The vast majority of potential equal pay claims were settled by agreement without any formal action, and of a total of 154 claims lodged with the Employment Tribunal over 70 per cent have been resolved in the same way.

“The council is currently in active discussion with employees’ representatives regarding settlement of the 46 claims which remain outstanding."

In its report, the Accounts Commission recommends that councils and elected members ensure that their pay arrangements are fair and transparent, which includes assessing the impact of organisational changes that may affect arrangements in future, and publishing equal pay statements and policies.

The Scottish Borders Council spokesperson added: “Since the implementation of the Single Status Agreement, the pay and grading structure has been kept under close review. In particular we have verified that the structure is compliant with the latest version of the Agreement.

“The council is also committed to addressing the gender pay gap.

"We published our Equality Mainstreaming Report for the period 2017 -21 in April of this year.

"While recognising that there remain issues to be addressed, the council’s gender pay gap is substantially lower than the overall Scottish figure.”