As the recession rumbles on, local governments throughout the UK are looking closely for ways to make savings and ways to work even more efficiently. But cutbacks can hurt both council service users and council employees.

But there is at least one way to save cash and make life easier for both council staff and constituents alike: issuing Prepaid cards.

In fact, three local councils have already started using Cashplus prepaid Gold MasterCard cards: Merton, Nottinghamshire and Bury councils.

So, what’s behind these three pioneering councils’ decision to invest in prepaid cards? Well, one of the main reasons is the card’s huge potential to save money by acting as a cost-efficient way of disbursing Direct Payments, Personal Benefits and council expenses (from office supplies to travel expenses) that would otherwise be paid by writing out and distributing cheques. And that can take up a lot of time and recourses that could be used elsewhere.

As well as working out cheaper to process than cheques, prepaid cards are more secure than carrying large amounts of cash. After all, if cash is lost or stolen, the chances of recovering it are very low. But if a Cashplus prepaid card goes missing, a quick phone call to the card provider, 24 hours a day, seven days a week gets the card cancelled. Then the card and the amount of cash that was on it can be replaced.

What’s more, by using prepaid cards, councils can also improve accountability and transparency, as expenditure can be tracked and monitored in real-time. Which is a valuable feature for councils as it makes ensuring that precious funds are being used for legitimate purposes. In fact, certain types of spending that would be deemed inappropriate can be blocked altogether.

Another important area that Cashplus prepaid cards can help with is the ‘Putting People First’ vision of improving social care. That’s because if a service user has been assessed with being eligible for Community Care Services, he or she can choose to receive payments to cover their care directly to a prepaid card’s account.

So, all in all, any local council that is striving to deliver significant savings working as efficiently as possible could do well to follow Merton, Nottinghamshire and Bury councils seeing how Cashplus prepaid cards could do for them.

By Jasmina