Integrated Impact Assessments – Pre-Paid Cards for Direct Payments and Emergency Payments

Pre-Paid Cards for Direct Payments and Emergency Payments

The current contract to provide pre-paid cards will be extended.

The service is currently provided by Allpay and used for the following functions:

  • Within Edinburgh Health & Social Care Partnership (EHSCP) for Self-Directed Support Direct Payments (SDS) and
  • across EHSCP and Edinburgh Children and Justice Services (ECS) as well as Family & Household Support (Place) for emergency payments.

The new contract will also include the following functions:

  • Within EHSCP for Corporate Appointee (CA) service users whose DWP benefits are managed by the organisation, their bills are paid, and they receive agreed amounts of cash which they currently attend the locality offices to collect.
  • Within ECS and Place to provide service users with charity grant funding and authorised departmental funding where required.

The SDS and emergency payment elements have been up and running and supplied through contract for a number of years.

The additional Corporate Appointee and charity grant funding services were introduced on a trial basis when Covid 19 restrictions were introduced.

There is no charge to the card holder in relation to the pre-paid card.

The pre-paid card for SDS payments and emergency payments have been used successfully for a number of years.

The additional Corporate Appointee function and grant funding function were introduced on a trial basis when Covid restrictions were imposed.

Feedback from staff who work with service users and care agencies has been positive.

The cards are not mandatory and alternative means of receiving funding and payments are available.

No, but socio-economic impacts are considered within this IIA.

Tuesday 14 February 2023

Name Job Title Date of IIA training
Sarah Bryson


Strategic Planning & Commissioning Officer, EHSCP (Facilitator and report writer) Nov 2017
Louise McRae Business Support Manager, Corporate Services, CEC (Lead Officer)  
Luan Sanderson; Strategic Planning & Commissioning Officer, ECS, CEC  
Ashley Mazs; SDS Advisor, EHSCP  
Jack Blaik; Social Worker, EHSCP  
Lorraine Macfarlane; Team Leader, Corporate Services, CEC  
Emma Gunter; Contract Manager, EHSCP  
Vivienne Kennedy; Contract Officer, EHSCP  
Susan Robertson1; Strategic Planning & Commissioning Officer, Disability, EHSCP  
Christine Farquhar; EIJB Carer Rep  
Grant Macrae; EIJB Citizen Rep  
Tracy Kelly Support Worker – Communities and Services, CEC.  
Evidence Available – detail source Comments: what does the evidence tell you with regard to different groups who may be affected and to the environmental impacts of your proposal
Data on populations in need Yes

Edinburgh by Numbers 2021, published Jan 2022

EIJB joint strategic needs assessments (JSNA) 2021 – Population and demographics – Edinburgh Health and Social Care Partnership (

The service is a city-wide service and is currently available to those in EHSCP  and Children’s Services who are assessed as needing a social care service, and who would like to arrange and pay for these services instead of receiving them directly from the City of Edinburgh Council (Self-Directed Support, SDS).  The pre-paid cards are also used for those requiring emergency payments in EHSCP and Education and Children Services (ECS).  The service is also currently being trialled for those receiving charity grant funds or are corporate appointees whose benefits are managed by the organisation.

Alternative methods of payments are available to those who do not wish to use the pre-paid card service.

Data on service uptake/access Yes, Numbers of people who currently use the service are available There are currently 1200 cards issued for SDS payments. (approx. £30m)

There are currently 624 cards issued for emergency payments.

EHSCP currently manage approximately 575 Corporate Appointees, with approximately 360 in the community and the remainder within care homes (under 65s).  Eleven of these piloted the Allpay pre-loaded payment card for Corporate appointees

Allpay is not required for those in care homes as the care homes have accounts for the residents and procure what is needed through other processes.

The total number of cards issued is  expected to increase over time as the demographics of Edinburgh continue to change (more people living longer; an increase in the proportion of people over 75; and an increase in those living with chronic conditions and multi-morbidities, for example)

In addition, there has been an increase in legislation over recent years – the Adult Support and Protection (Scotland) Act 2007, Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003 and the Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000. This, along with changes in demographics, has contributed to the growing numbers of compulsory financial interventions being required.

Approximately 61% of service users are over 65 years of age with just less than half being male and slightly more than half female.

Currently, it is estimated that approximately one fifth of service users have a physical disability, one tenth have a learning disability and one tenth have a mental health issue.  A small amount have drug and alcohol issues.

Often the SDS funds are managed and administered by an unpaid carer and there may be a card in the unpaid carers name.

Unpaid carers are also assessed in their own right and in some instances are given a budget to support their needs.  At the moment these payments are made via BACS into their bank accounts or occasionally in cash.

Data on socio-economic disadvantage e.g. low income, low wealth, material deprivation, area deprivation. Self-directed support is available to those who have been assessed as eligible for certain services from social work and/or housing for services such as home-help, transport, day care services, counselling, personal care etc.

Some services are free of charge, such as personal care for people aged 65 and over and nursing care for those assessed as needing it, but there may be a charge for other services and this is means tested.

Emergency payments are available to those who have been assessed by a Council employee as meeting the criteria for a payment.

A high proportion of the service users will therefore have lower socio-economic status.

Data on equality outcomes Population health and inequalities in Edinburgh

The Joint Edinburgh Carers Strategy (currently draft)

Director of Public Health Annual Report

The majority of service users will have a physical disability, a learning disability, be older or have a mental health issue and it is estimated that approximately 40% of the Allpay cards are online managed on their behalf by an unpaid carer.

There is widespread data available on equality outcomes for people within these protected characteristic groups, for example,

people with a learning disability do not enjoy the same life chances as others (‘Keys to Life Implementation Framework’, 2019).  They have some of the poorest health of any group in Scotland. They are considerably more likely to die at an early age than the general population – on average 20 years before. Some of the causes of death are potentially preventable.

Caring responsibilities may limit people’s participation in employment, education and other aspects of life. This may impact on the carer’s social status, income, mental and physical health and ability to access services.  The Covid pandemic restrictions brought further challenges for carers’ which exacerbated the impacts of caring on carer’s mental and physical health.

It is estimated that around 60 percent of unpaid carers are women (higher for working age carers) and women are four times as likely to give up paid work due to multiple caring responsibilities and are more likely to be in low-paid, part-time employment than male carers. The responsibility of care has significant ramifications on women’s access to employment, career development and progress, access to training and higher education, as well as on physical and mental health.

The Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA)  papers provide further information on a range of equality outcomes:

The Director of Public Health report highlights a decline in overall population health over the last ten years. The COVID-19 pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis have amplified these negative health trends with particularly deleterious impacts for the most vulnerable members of the Lothian population.

Research/literature evidence
Public/patient/client experience information The use of Allpay pre-loaded payment cards has been in place for a number of years and feedback in the main has been positive.

Feedback received from those that work with service users has been extremely positive and it was reported that most service users and workers are very happy with the process.  Feedback noted that the process is user friendly, quick to respond, quick to get money, it can be cancelled if need be, provides transparency and is definitely a better system than previously in place – it is seen as almost indispensable by some.  The Bacs system was clumsy and difficult to operate.  The use of the pre-loaded card is not mandatory and no-one yet has asked to hand back the pre-loaded card and go back to the old system

An emergency Allpay scheme which included Corporate Appointees was piloted over the last couple of years with positive results.  This was introduced to work around Covid19 distancing restrictions. This was successfully implemented and well received by services users, staff and care agencies.

Utilising alternative payment options will also reduce the need to use care at home hours for care agencies to attend local offices to collect cash.

There is an increased demand for this service to grow.

There have been limited issues reported to date with the use of the prepaid card for example, the amount of emergency funds paid both in one transaction and over the lifespan of the prepaid card are restricted.  These have now been extended.

Evidence of inclusive engagement of people who use the service and involvement findings
Evidence of unmet need All those who wish to use the prepaid cards have the option to do so however the current schemes do not work well for situations whereby social workers need to support the spend but the new schemes being procured will resolve this issue.
Good practice guidelines procedures for dealing with appointees The operation of appointeeship is set out in Part 5 the Department of Work and Pensions document ‘Agents, Appointees, Attorneys, Deputies and Third Parties: Staff Guide’ and can be accessed on the DWP website
Carbon emissions generated/reduced data Data not available however number of vehicle trips will be reduced
Environmental data
Risk from cumulative impacts
Other (please specify)
Additional evidence required


Equality, Health and Wellbeing and Human Rights


Affected populations

The benefits of the Prepaid cards include:

·     Money can be transferred to the cardholder with much greater speed – emergency payments can be received within hours.

·     There is reduced risk of Corporate Appointees having money stolen or losing money on collection from offices.  There is also a reduced risk of susceptibility to drug dealers as regular collection of cash from locality office is avoided

·     The burden on the card holder/unpaid carer to retain copies of invoices and receipts is removed.

·     Card holders are not required to have a bank account which may have caused difficulties for some.

·     The use of payment card rather than cash means that the card holder has more choice and potential to save money as they can shop around and can purchase on-line

·     Online and telephone access to assistance with the prepaid card is available.

·     The categories for which spend can be made by card holders (where it is the card holder’s money), have been opened up to allow card holders to have more control of their lives.

·     Security is improved.  Money is not loaded onto a card until the card owner has acknowledged receipt of the card.

·     Currently, the prepaid card is not available to unpaid carers who are assessed and given a budget to support their needs.  These payments are made via BACS into their bank accounts or occasionally provided in cash.  The offer of prepaid cards will however be available to unpaid   within the new contract.



Older people, those with disabilities, those with mental health issues and unpaid carers


·     People vulnerable to poverty are less likely to have internet access to manage their card online however the alternative methods will continue to be available.


Those vulnerable to poverty

Environment and Sustainability including climate change emissions and impacts.


Affected populations

·     The amount of paper used is reduced as paper copies of receipts and invoices are no longer required

·     The number of vehicle trips will be reduced.



Economic Affected populations

·     Transparency is increased and the system is easily auditable – every transaction can be seen within the portal.

·     Inappropriate spend of organisational funds is easily spotted and can be checked

·     Reports can be run and issues can be flagged, for example, cards not used for 30 days, emergency payments not used.

·     Administration time is reduced (reduced amount of time collecting and monitoring receipts and invoices).

·     A card can be suspended if care is not provided (this would not happen without conversation with the card owner as it is acknowledged that there are many reasons/variables for example, there may be overdue payments.)  2 years respite would be retained.

·     Deliveries of cash are reduced and therefore less cash amounts are held and administered in EHSCP office safes.

·     The use of prepaid cards is more efficient – it is labour intensive for business support staff to prepare cash uplifts for care agencies or corporate appointees and these are reduced when using the prepaid card.






Yes – guidance and policy with regards to the above will be adhered to as part of the procurement process and included in contractual requirements.

To date there has been no reported language issues in relation to the use of prepaid cards.  Translation services and 3rd sector organisations are available.

The needs of individuals are assessed by the allocated social worker, OT or social care staff member and SDS payments and options are agreed in their support plan.  Each support plan will therefore be bespoke to the individual.  It is therefore not possible to produce common guidance on allowable spend.

Common guidance could however be prepared for emergency spend cards and this will be considered.

When preparing communications, simple, plain English with the avoidance of jargon will be used.

If further evidence is required, please note how it will be gathered.  If appropriate, mark this report as interim and submit updated final report once further evidence has been gathered.

Specific actions (as a result of the IIA which may include financial implications, mitigating actions and risks of cumulative impacts) Who will take them forward (name and job title Deadline for progressing Review date
Plain and simple English to be used throughout any communications and jargon should be avoided All staff ongoing April 2024
Consideration will be given to the production of Emergency Payments Guidance in different languages Louise McRae (Business Support Manager) April 2023 April 2024


Name  Tony Duncan

Tony Duncan signature

          Date 16/03/23

Completed and signed IIAs should be sent to:  to be published on the Council website

Edinburgh Integration Joint Board/Health and Social Care to be published at