Adult Social Care Prepaid Card Consultation

Closed 25 Nov 2020

Opened 22 Oct 2020


The council is committed to continuing expanding its personalisation offer in adult social care in line with our statutory duties under the Care Act 2014.  Personalisation places people at the heart of the assessment and discussions about how they would like their identified needs met ensuring they have as much choice and control as possible.  It is our legal duty to give you the option to receive a direct payment if you, or the person you are looking after, have been assessed as needing care and support.  Receiving a direct payment will enable you to arrange your own care and support instead of the council arranging this for you.

Direct payments can be provided for regular weekly packages of care or for one-off purposes and be used to pay for support provided by an agency, a personal assistant or for activities as identified in a person’s support plan. The council currently provides personal budgets to 800 people in the form of a direct payment. 

What is Personalisation?

'Personalisation' refers to the process by which people with long-term illnesses or conditions receive support that is tailored to their individual needs and wishes. Individuals can choose to have as much or as little responsibility over their service as they wish.

How does the prepaid card work?

Luton Council will pay your direct payments into your prepaid card every four weeks.  This will cover payments for your assessed needs two weeks in arrears, two weeks in advance. 

The prepaid card is really easy to use, just like a normal debit card:

  • it has an account number and sort code 
  • there is no cheque book or overdraft facility so you can’t spend over your budget and get into debt
  • there are no fees or charges to use the card
  • it’s easy to use and manage your direct payments

We believe people receiving direct payment from the council will benefit from using a prepaid card because it will:   

  • enable people to have direct control and independence to manage their own support
  • improve choice and control over how, when and where people spend their personal budgets, in line with their assessed and agreed care needs
  • reduce delays and paperwork

You will be in control of your direct payment prepaid card account.  Some of the benefits of having a prepaid card are:

  1. You can pay your provider (personal assistant, care agency or organisation) for the support you receive, in line with your assessed and agreed care needs.  Payment can be made from your prepaid card by bank transfer, direct debit or via telephone or online banking
  2. You can check your account balance via the online portal or by telephone, at any time
  3. You can top-up this account, for additional private care needs, or differences in rates/fees
  4. You will have full visibility of your account to support how you manage your direct payments
  5. Funds will be safe in the account
  6. You will be managing your own direct payment and may no longer have to submit paperwork to the Council’s Direct Payment Finance team. However, all accounts will be audited and you should use the online portal to evidence transactions on your prepaid card, by uploading photos or scanned copies of invoices, receipts and other payments.
  7. You cannot go overdrawn or get into debt by using the prepaid card. If you are assessed as requiring to make a financial contribution towards the cost of your care, you will need to pay this into your prepaid card account. Failure to pay your assessed contribution into your prepaid card may result in you running out of money and being unable to pay your provider. 

Checking your account

You will be able to check your account online or by phone. You will also be able to set up regular payments (direct debits and standing orders).

We will check the things you pay for to make sure you are making the most of your card.

You cannot use your card for things that are not covered in your care plan.

How do I get a prepaid card?

  • Adult social care will assess your care needs and propose a support plan, where eligible.  You will be offered an estimated budget to meet your identified eligible needs.
  • upon the return of a signed direct payment agreement, your prepaid card will be issued by post
  • you will need to activate the card when you receive it - this is an easy process which can be completed over the phone, with assistance from the card issuer Prepaid Financial Services.

For more information about our prepaid card, please see Luton PPC FAQs in the 'related documents' section below.

Why we are consulting

Between now and the end of March 2021, Luton Council will be using prepaid card account to deliver direct payments as a default option.   If you currently receive direct payments via a holding account which is managed by the Disability Resource Centre (DRC), please note that this will no longer be an option for you from April 2021. Instead, it is hoped that you will receive your direct payment funding via a prepaid card allowing you to pay for your own care packages.  This will mean that you will no longer be required to submit invoices to the DRC for payment. 

We are currently reviewing all adults who receive a direct payment. If you have not already spoken to one of our assessors, you will be contacted shortly and if a prepaid card is not suitable for you then our assessor will discuss alternative options.

To help you understand more about prepaid card, you can find published case studies which show how other councils are benefitting greatly from the introduction of prepaid cards on the National Prepaid Card Network website.

We would like to hear your views

The council is in the process of contacting existing direct payments users and their carers directly to advise them of the new offer.  We would like to hear from you with any concerns, comments or suggestions you may have about the proposals. All the information you provide will be considered and used to develop and shape the service available to direct payment recipients.

We aim is to give you as much opportunity as possible to provide your views.  With this mind, you may do so in the following ways:

  • by completing the consultation survey online
  • if you do not have online access, a paper copy of the consultation survey can be requested by calling 01582 548555, or emailing
  • if you require the consultation document and survey in another language or format i.e. large print, please request this by phone on 01582 548555 or email

We are also hosting online meetings giving you the opportunity to hear about the proposals and to ask questions.

These are scheduled to take place online via Zoom. If you would like to attend the meeting, please register in advance by sending your name and email address to  ppcconsultation and a link will be sent you shortly before the meeting.

The Zoom meetings will take place on:

3 November 2020: 11:00 – 13:00 (Service Users)

4 November 2020: 18:00 – 20:00 (Service Users)

10 November 2020: 11:00 – 13:00 (Service Providers)

Your Data and Privacy

The Council is sensitive and respectful of your rights to privacy.  More details about how we protect your data can be found on our website.




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