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Helping residents manage their money Hertfordshire Housing Conference Tony Bailey Chairman Hert. Savers Credit Union April 2013
Helping residents manage their money • • • What is the problem? Likely Consequences Solutions Why use a credit union? Who will need help to adjust? Potential new credit union services Risks and Unknowns Costs and Partners Questions
Social Welfare Reform = Radical Change ty aci cap il Tax B Housing Benefit t por Sup e om Inc Counc it nef e Employment Support Allowance B Disability Living Allowance into Personal Independence Payments In Tax credits ene l. B a Tot enefit Com mun ity C are ap t. C fi Soc Gra nts ial F und And then there is Universal Credit … Cris is Lo ans
Universal Credit: resident’s challenge • replacement for most working age benefits • a single monthly payment for a household • a basic amount - paid in arrears • plus amounts for children, disability, housing and caring • single rate of withdrawal when a person enters work • digital by default • new sanctions for fraud and error But we may see some backtracking on the details as the system is rolled out: Pathfinder April 2013 Rollout for new claims October 2013 to April 2014 Rollout for existing April 2014 to 2017
Impacts on Tenants, Social Landlords and Councils • Residents to budget and manage money monthly • Reduced benefit income to be replaced by earned income • “No losers at point of change” but frozen benefits • Comparative losers – people making new claims or changes • Clearly designed to reduce the bill for social welfare over time • Potential for increased level of rent arrears • Potential for increased level of Council Tax arrears Some mitigation by Discretionary Housing Payments and Hertfordshire Welfare Assistance Scheme
Ways of managing money monthly Banks • Think Banking • RBS • Others Prepaid Cards • Allpay • Cred. Ecard Credit Unions • Jam. Jar Accounts • Current Accounts “If you don’t take care of your money, who can you trust to help ? ”
Why use a credit union? • Social enterprise – not for profit co-operative • Trading surpluses go back to residents • Scope for members and partners to shape services • Residents more likely to receive a sympathetic service • Provides employment for staff within the county • Improves sustainability of credit union services • • Hert. Savers CU serving Welywn Hatfield since 2001 and Hertfordshire since 2009 • • • Approximately 1100 members Two offices: Hatfield and Waltham Cross Open 23 hours a week There already over 5000 credit union members in the six credit unions in the county
Who will need help to adjust? DWP suggest claimants will fall into one of four groups: Independent Light Support Intensive Support Exceptions Able to budget with short term support Only able to budget with ongoing support Never able to budget (20%) • 1 million people use a PO account with no transactional banking • 1. 4 million people have no bank account • 2 million have accounts with failed direct debits • 850, 000 have accounts with regular failed direct debits
Potential new credit union services Independent Light Support Intensive Support Exceptions Able to budget with short term support Only able to budget with ongoing support Never able to budget (20%) Credit Union Current Account Credit Union Managed Payment Service DWP Regular Bank Account (CUCA) Exceptions process
Credit Union Managed Payment Service • Wages and Benefits paid into CU bank account • Automated allocation of credits to member accounts • Member Agreement to provide list of payees • Automated payments to payees • Rest allocated to saving accounts and/or Prepaid VISA card • Electronic remittances to payees and emailed Remittance Advice • Standard use of Prepaid VISA card like all VISA debit cards • Hert. Savers CU already has the software • Supplier workshop for feedback from trials in April Controlled payment of rent, council tax etc while member adjusts to system
Managed Payment Service Implementation
Credit Union Current Account (CUCA) • Cash withdrawals at any Link ATM machine • Direct Debits + Standing Orders - no cheque book • VISA Debit Card used as any other VISA Debit Card • Instant access to electronic credits: wages, benefits etc • No unfair charges – only reflecting actual costs • Own Sort Code/Account Number • Improved service for members who cannot visit the CU office • Exists already in use in some credit unions The benefits of a current account for members who are better able to manage their money
CUCA Implementation options
Risks and Unknowns • Possible changes to UC proposals from trials etc • Length of time before reversion to direct payments • Delays to UC computer projects • Numbers of residents taking up the services • Speed of rollout (if problems emerge) • Size of increase in arrears • CU capacity to manage the workload • Any change from 2015 election Is a big bang approach wise at this stage?
Costs: Part 1 - Managed Payments Set up Costs £ 6, 500 • Project costs approx £ 5, 000 + equipment £ 1, 500 Annual running Costs £ 23, 000 • Staff £ 19, 600 (based on 25 hours a week) • Experian/Cards/Stationery £ 3, 400 Transaction Costs (volume dependant) • Allow £ 40 per account per annum Cost to partners (10) • £ 650 setup then £ 2, 300 pa running costs until breakeven and £ 5 per account per month (paid by partner for resident)
Costs: Part 2 - CU Current Account Set up Costs £ 40, 000 • VISA Joining Fee € 10, 500 • Project costs approx £ 28, 000 + equipment £ 2, 000 Annual running Costs £ 27, 500 • Staff £ 15, 500 (based on 20 hours a week and Pt 1 in place) • Experian/Cards/Stationery/ADSL £ 3, 000 • Service Desk/Fraud monitoring etc £ 9, 000 Transaction Costs (volume dependant) • Allow £ 40 per account per annum Cost to partners (10) • £ 4, 000 set up then £ 2, 750 pa running costs (until breakeven) plus £ 5 per account per month (paid by partner for resident)
Partners and interested parties • East Herts District Council • B 3 Living • Welwyn Hatfield Community Housing Trust • Dacorum Borough Council • North Herts Homes • Riversmead HA • Broxbourne Borough Council • Stevenage Borough Council • Hightown Praetorian CHA • Howard Cottage HA We still need more partners …
Timescales Part 1 – Managed Payments • Recruit and train staff member • Test systems • Launch October 2013 Part 2 – CU Current Account • Supply pre-implementation documents to ABCUL • Seek membership of VISA International (Apr/Jul/Oct/Jan) • Commission Co-op Bank to set up CUCA (6 months) • Recruit and train staff • Test systems • Launch April 2014 ? ?
Next Steps • Conclude Partnership Agreements • Implement Managed Payments • Submit Application and Business plan to ABCUL • Apply for membership of VISA • Initiate CUCA Implementation project Email : [email protected] co. uk Phone: 01707 269239 or 07545 484268
Questions Thank you for listening. Any Questions? Helping residents manage their money Hertfordshire Housing Conference Tony Bailey Chairman Hert. Savers Credit Union April 2013 Email : [email protected] co. uk Phone: 01707 269239 or 07545 484268
Incoming payments can be automatically allocated to a set of members’ accounts
Landlords/utilities details are stored in a file of Payees that links to members
Agreement made with members to receive Universal Credit & make payment to their payees. Money leftover is transferred to savings, current or debit card acct.
System produces list of payments to be made and highlights any where insufficient funds need to be investigated. Then outputs BACS file and emails.