Feeds

Councils dole out social-care payment smartcards

Making sure the customer doesn't get out of control

The essential guide to IT transformation

Three councils have begun to issue smart cards for social care recipients to pay for services under the personalised budget agenda.

Merton, Nottinghamshire and Bury councils have done deals with Advanced Payment Solutions (APS) to supply the cards.

Merton introduced the cards at the beginning of July under a three-year contract with APS and had issued more than 30 in the first three weeks of the month. It is planning to make about 500 available to people who receive direct payments from the council, followed by a rollout to all of its 2,200 social care customers.

Helen Cook, head of access and accounts of social work system at Merton, told GGC: "The move derives from the government policy of providing personal budgets for a growing number of social care recipients and Merton's that customers should have more control over the services they receive.

"It's part of a wide move towards making sure the customer is in control, but we can't afford for the customer to lose control of what they are spending."

The council has set up a monitoring system to ensure that the cards are not abused. It has an officer with the responsibility of keeping track of the customers' accounts, and can view their payment information on screen.

Cook said the benefits include supporting people who cannot receive money into a bank account, reducing the administrative burdens and enabling customers to buy services by telephone or on the internet.

APS has partnered with the Co-Operative Bank, which provides the banking facility, access to the Fast Payment Service and a sort code and account number for each card.

The cards also have the MasterCard logo as an acceptance mark.

Rich Wagner, chief executive officer of APS, said the card "reduces the need of the customers to set up a separate bank account to receive the benefit, and then send in statements on a regular basis to the council to validate expenditures".

This article was originally published at Guardian Government Computing.

Guardian Government Computing is a business division of Guardian Professional, and covers the latest news and analysis of public sector technology. For updates on public sector IT, join the Government Computing Network here.

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Hello, police, El Reg here. Are we a bunch of terrorists now?
Do Brits risk arrest for watching beheading video nasty? We asked the fuzz
UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones
Met Police calls for mandatory passwords on all new mobes
Munich considers dumping Linux for ... GULP ... Windows!
Give a penguinista a hug, the Outlook's not good for open source's poster child
Detroit losing MILLIONS because it buys CHEAP BATTERIES – report
Man at hardware store was right: name brands DO last longer
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
UK government accused of hiding TRUTH about Universal Credit fiasco
'Reset rating keeps secrets on one-dole-to-rule-them-all plan', say MPs
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
Yes, but what are your plans if a DRAGON attacks?
Local UK gov outs most ridiculous FoI requests...
EU justice chief blasts Google on 'right to be forgotten'
Don't pretend it's a freedom of speech issue – interim commish
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.