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Just What The Doctor Ordered

Top county company shares how it came through COVID-19 to boost Hereford Times business support campaign.

Faced with its biggest ever business challenge over COVID-19, a sector-leading Herefordshire firm delivered just what the doctor ordered – to keep a vital NHS role running.

As lockdown eases, Whitestone based national payments specialist allpay Limited wants to inspire other county companies to back the Hereford Times boost to business campaign.

COVID-19 kicked in with allpay undergoing a corporate restructure to meet major new market opportunities.

“Coping with this was probably our biggest ever business challenge since start up,” said Tony Killeen, Owner, allpay Limited.

“Where we have a key contract with the NHS and other key contracts serving public sector clients helping the most vulnerable, we had to be agile in balancing the immediate response of the business to COVID-19 with incentivising essential innovation towards its future,” said Killeen

NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) – which provides a range of critical central services to NHS organisations, NHS contractors, patients and the public - is one of those key allpay clients.

With the NHS assigning resources to the COVID-19 frontline, allpay kept the NHS prescription pre-payment running – a system that offers a set price for prescriptions over specific periods no matter how many a patient might need.

The NHSBSA collect payments for Prescription Pre-payment Certificates (PPCs) in England via allpay’s direct debit offer – allowing its 300 call centre staff to set-up, amend and cancel Direct Debit schedules, utilising allpay’s application programming and cloud-based management portal.

The company’s comprehensive response earned a personal thank you from NHSBSA CEO Michael Brodie who, in an email, wrote: “It’s an absolute pleasure seeing organisations work together towards a shared purpose and supporting each other collaboratively.  Thanks for all that you are doing to help us maintain our key functions.”

Another key COVID-19 operation had allpay moving vital support funds from Government to councils and businesses across the country.

Over the course of two days, allpay transferred £14bn to councils and businesses from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) and the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

Such was the political and economic importance of this, MHCLG’s Finance Director had to confirm the completed transactions instantly to MHCLG Secretary of State, who in turn had to relay this immediately to the Prime Minister.

As the crisis continued, allpay took its lead from the top with the board holding (socially-distant) action briefings every day directing some 220 staff working from home and on average 180 on-line at any one point – making for a massive IT support operation.

The call centre team alone dealt with an increase of up to 300% on daily call volumes due to the impact of COVID-19 and have continued to see a dramatic increase in call volume for payments into the Call Centre since.

Overall, the client services team saw its previous performance records smashed with records broken every day in March and April.

The company’s prepaid card utilised during the recent flooding within Herefordshire has seen “unbelievable growth’ during the outbreak. Some 50,000 Prepaid Instance Issue cards went out in just under two weeks to meet the increase in demand – four weeks quicker than standard lead times.

The card production team have worked on-site over 12 hours segregated shifts, 3 days on 3 days off, to combine production with protection – while also producing protection for the NHS as part of a national programme to make visors for PPE kit.

“It’s so good to see the Hereford Times backing local business as the county moves out of COVID-19.

“We hope that by sharing our story with the Hereford Times, other businesses will be inspired to share their stories – showing what this county is capable of in coming through unprecedented times,” said Killeen.

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