Electronic payments on the cards in Ireland? That’s no bad thing
It’s no secret social protection budgets are struggling to cope with the increasing demands placed upon them. Tough economic times mean less money is being asked to go further and sadly, it is having an impact on front line services in Ireland. Child protection issues made the headlines last year and earlier this month concern was aired over the future of Ireland’s disabled services. In the current climate, savings need to be made, but surely they can be found without damaging vital services?
The Irish government has made it clear it would like to see the phasing out of social welfare in cash, with the Department of Social Protection wanting three quarters of payments made directly or onto a prepaid card. The Irish Postmasters Union (IPU) among others have expressed concerns regarding this encouraging overdrafts, account fees and people choosing the wrong spending priorities; yet it is possible to provide the technology that can deliver cost savings and improved efficiency, while not sacrificing people’s essential needs.
We know this first hand having worked with various English councils to develop a sophisticated card management system to distribute social care payments with greater efficiency and transparency – and in turn this leads to real monetary savings, from day one. We worked closely with our council clients to help them deliver their very clear objectives of using technology to improve services and save costs, not just in year one but every year. Different councils may well have different requirements, but what’s important for them to remember is that there are cost effective, non-disruptive and compliant technology platforms to suit each individual requirement.
The software now available has the ‘intelligence’ to know when someone is looking to spend their money on the wrong things – gambling websites can be blocked for example, while powerful safeguarding factors can be built in too. If an at risk person has not used their card for a certain period, it could be a sign they are ill and this can trigger an investigation. In this way the technology is not just about cost –savings – it can be a lifesaver too.
It is saddening to think that front line services are being cut in order to make savings that could be made elsewhere. I am confident that we can help any council to find savings in their payment systems and as such would like to offer a free consultation to every Irish council.
Charles Mc Evoy, Managing Director