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Direct Payments on Cards by Local Authorities

John A Gelmini made this Freedom of Information request to Norfolk County Council as part of a batch sent to 82 authorities

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Dear Norfolk County Council,

1) How many of your authority's customers are in receipt of a direct payment for Care Act services, please?

2) What was the combined value of all Care Act budgets delivered through direct payments made in 2020 and 2019, please?

3) What is the median amount of a gross direct payment made on behalf of your organisation?

4) How frequently are direct payments made (i.e., weekly, fortnightly, 28 days or calendar month). Please provide a breakdown, thank you.

5) How many of your direct payment clients receive their payment into a prepaid card or managed account? Please provide a breakdown of the numbers, thank you.

6) Which prepaid card suppliers has your organisation contracted with?

7) What is the applicable contract length with these providers and when do these arrangements come up for renewal?

8) Does your organisation use prepaid cards to disburse funds to other people (i.e., asylum seekers, refugees, homeless). If so, please can you provide a breakdown of the median amount, recipient category, frequency of funds disbursed and the total value of funds made in 2020 and 2019, please?

9) Is your s151 Officer (CFO) aware of the recent £32 million GBP fine levied against Mastercard, allpay and PFS for allegedly operating a cartel in the public sector prepaid card space? Link to PSR article here: https://www.psr.org.uk/news-updates/late...

10) Has your organisation released a statement about these proceedings and if so, please can you provide it, thank you?

Yours faithfully,

John A Gelmini

Freedom of Information, Norfolk County Council

Dear Mr Gelmini,

Freedom of Information Act 2000/Environmental Information Regulations 2004 Information RequestENQ-507618-Y8L7W2

Thank you for your request for information received on 01 September 2021.

We have up to 20 working days in which to deal with your request.

If we require clarification of your request we will contact you to explain this, and the 20 working-day period will then start from the day that we receive your clarification.

We will inform you in advance if there is a charge for supplying copies of any information, and we will provide an explanation if any information which we hold is not released to you.

If the requested information contains references to any third parties, we may need to seek their views before we can decide whether or not to release the information to you. In such cases we will not share your own personal details with third parties.

Should you have any queries regarding your request, please contact the team by email at [Norfolk County Council request email] or by telephone on 01603 222661.

Yours sincerely

Sarah Cooper, Business Support Assistant
Information Compliance Team
Dept: 01603 222661
Bay 7-9, Ground Floor, County Hall, Norwich

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Freedom of Information, Norfolk County Council

Dear Mr Gelmini
 
Freedom of Information Request ENQ-507618-Y8L7W2
 
I refer to your request for information dated 2^nd September 202.  I
apologise for the delay in providing this response.
 
You asked for:
 
1) How many of your authority's customers are in receipt of a direct
payment for Care Act services, please?
 
Our response:  
 
1783     Adults are in receipt of ongoing direct payments for Care Act
services (based on the 4-weekly payment covering the period 16/08/21 to
12/09/21).
 
Please note, this figure does not include anyone who only receives a ‘one
off’ lump sum payment.
 
 
2) What was the combined value of all Care Act budgets delivered through
direct payments made in 2020 and 2019, please?
 
Our response:
 
2019/20  £28,180,000
2020/21  £28,249,000
 
 
3) What is the median amount of a gross direct payment made on behalf of
your organisation?
 
Our response:  
 
£227.56 per week. This information is based on the 4-weekly payment
covering the period
16/08/21 to 12/09/21
 
 
4) How frequently are direct payments made (i.e., weekly, fortnightly, 28
days or calendar month).  Please provide a breakdown, thank you.
 
Our response:  
 
Direct Payment are paid 4-weekly in advance, for example, a payment
covering the period
16/08/21 to 12/09/21 would be paid on 30/07/21
 
 
5) How many of your direct payment clients receive their payment into a
prepaid card or managed account?  Please provide a breakdown of the
numbers, thank you.
 
Our response:
 

* 1446 received their direct payment into a prepaid account managed by
the support of Norfolk’s internal Direct Payment Support Services

 

* 274 received their direct payment into a prepaid account managed by
themselves or their nominated person

 

* 60 received their direct payment into a dedicated bank account opened
and managed by themselves or their nominated person

 

* 3 received their direct payment into an account managed by an external
Direct Payment Support Service

 

* 1783 adults are in receipt of ongoing direct payments for Care Act
service

 
Please note: the above is based on the 4-weekly payment covering the
period 16/08/21 to 12/09/21.
 
 
 
6) Which prepaid card suppliers has your organisation contracted with?
 
Our response:  
 
EML Payments Ltd (formerly Prepaid Financial Services )
 
This information is in the public domain and can be viewed at the
following link
 
[1]Contracts and grants register - Norfolk County Council
 
 
 
7) What is the applicable contract length with these providers and when do
these arrangements come up for renewal?
 
Our response:  
 
5 years and the current contract has been in place since October 2017.
 
This information is in the public domain and can be viewed at the
following link
 
[2]Contracts and grants register - Norfolk County Council
 
 
8) Does your organisation use prepaid cards to disburse funds to other
people (i.e., asylum seekers, refugees, homeless). If so, please can you
provide a breakdown of the median amount, recipient category, frequency of
funds disbursed and the total value of funds made in 2020 and 2019,
please?
 
Our response:
 
Norfolk Adult Services use prepaid cards for initial payments to refugees
and for payments to families and adults with no recourse to public funds
(NRPF) where we have a duty to provide financial support.  This is where
clients have no bank account (and in the case of people without valid
leave to remain in the UK they are prohibited in law from operating a UK
current account). 
Norfolk Adult Services do not pay asylum seekers subsistence via
prepayment cards because we are prohibited in law from giving subsistence
payments to adult asylum seekers and those with dependent children.
Norfolk’s Children's Services use the cards to make subsistence payments
and personal allowance payments to Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children
in pursuance of their duties under Ss 20, 23A-C and 24 of the Children Act
1989. Please see the grid provided below.
In addition, Prepaid cards are used by the following Norfolk Services:
 

Recipient Median Payment Frequency of Total value Total value of
category Amount funds of funds funds made in
disbursed made in 2019 2020
 £39.63 plus weekly and/or
People From discretion for one-off £ 48,000 £ 82,719
Abroad Team additional payments
amounts
Leaving Care weekly and/or
Services    £55.55 one off n/a  £ 35,498
payments
Unaccompanied weekly and/or
Asylum Seeking  £58.90 one off n/a  £120,097
Children payments
weekly
FSM (free school  £15.00 payments Nil £3,675.00
meal) vouchers during Covid
lockdown
Client Financial weekly and/or
Affairs  £82.77 one off n/a  £337,877
payments
Norfolk one-off
Assistance  £170.89 payment(s) on n/a  £1,017,658
Scheme  request
Direct Payments 4-weekly
for Children with £1000 and/or £795,110   £1,120,625  
Disabilities one-off
payments

 

* Please note the figures provided above are for financial years 2019/20
& 2020/21

 
Norfolk County Council staff that work in teams relating to the above
categories also hold prepayment cards which are used to support Young
People who are either too young to hold a card or who do not have a bank
account, pre-payment card, or are based in a Residential or Semi
Independent Accommodation.
 
9) Is your s151 Officer (CFO) aware of the recent £32 million GBP fine
levied against Mastercard, allpay and PFS for allegedly operating a cartel
in the public sector prepaid card space?
 
 
Our response:  
 
This is not a request for recorded information, and therefore we are
unable to assist you under Freedom of Information. 
 
 
10) Has your organisation released a statement about these proceedings and
if so, please can you provide it, thank you?
 
Our response:  
 
No such statement has been released.
 
 
 
If you are dissatisfied with our handling of your request you have the
right of appeal through the Council’s internal review procedure by setting
out the grounds of your appeal in writing to:
 
[3][Norfolk County Council request email]
or Information Compliance Team
County Hall
Martineau Lane
Norwich
NR1 2DH
 
An appeal should be submitted within 40 working days of the date of this
notice and should be identified as "FOI Appeal".
 
If you are dissatisfied after pursuing the complaints procedure, you may
apply to the Information Commissioner under Section 50 of the Act for a
decision whether your request for information has been dealt with in
accordance with the requirements of Part I of the Act.  Refer to the ICO
Website at: [4]https://ico.org.uk/concerns/ for advice on how to report a
concern.  Or you can write to them at:
 
First Contact Team
Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane, Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF
 
Yours sincerely
 
Senior Information Compliance Officer 
Information Compliance Team, Insight and Analytics, Strategy and
Transformation 
Tel Dept: 01603 222661
Bays 7,8 & 9, Ground Floor, South Wing, County Hall, Martineau Lane,
Norwich 
  
 
 
 

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