Council names allpay as preferred supplier for Social Fund

The London borough of Ealing is planning to use prepaid cards to deliver its Social Fund programme from next April and has named allpay as its preferred supplier.

The solution will allow the council to load payments instantly onto a prepaid card giving it improved control of its expenditure by monitoring how funds are spent. Allowing local authorities to track the payment online also gives them the opportunity to explore local discounts with stores where the money is being spent.

As part of the Government’s welfare reform agenda, it is devolving parts of the social fund to local authorities from April to replace community care grants (CCG) and crisis loans which attracted nearly 600,000 and 2.5m applications respectively across Great Britain last year.

The London borough of Ealing will take advantage of a framework agreement allpay has in place with the North East Procurement Organisation – available nationally to local authorities and other parts of the public sector through the Pro5 Group – removing the need to conduct full tender exercises or lengthy supplier evaluations for required schemes.

Think tank Demos last week published a report advising local authorities to explore using prepaid cards for the distribution of personal budgets, asylum seeker and care leaver payments and for emergency fund schemes like the Social Fund.

The report outlines the experiences of those councils currently using them for the direct payment of adult social care. Brent Council says it expects to shave 10% off the £5 million a year it currently spends on direct payments, with another council, Bury, admitting that it had paper audit trails going back several years before turning to prepaid cards.

allpay has experienced a high volume of incoming enquiries from local authorities across England, Scotland and Wales around its Social Fund offering.

The company already works with a number of councils who are using its prepaid cards. Derbyshire County Council, for example, is providing allpay’s prepaid cards to residents to pay for Children’s Services, while others are using it for a range of payments from housing benefit and adult social care payments to decorating allowances.

Nick Peplow, allpay’s business development director, said: “There is an overwhelming preference among local authorities for ‘cashless systems’ based on vouchers, prepaid cards and arrangements with local companies. A prepaid card ticks all the boxes – money can be loaded onto the card instantly, can be spent in retailer outlets or online and can be tracked, removing the need for receipts and making auditing much easier.”

For further information about how allpay’s prepaid cards can benefit your local authority, contact us now on 0844 557 8315 or book a demonstration here.