PCG's Virtual Wallet current manages approximately £7 million of social care direct payments per month.
With Virtual Wallet, PCG holds the funds on behalf of direct payment recipients in a bank account in the Local Authority’s name. Either direct payment recipients themselves, the local authority, or an appointed third party, then have access to a ‘virtual’ budget so they can choose, order and commission care and support as required, with PCG processing all payments to providers.
The software provided enables robust financial monitoring and complete transparency for all parties on budget spend, while enabling individuals to continue to have choice and control over commissioned care, without the hassle of having to make payments themselves.
The Virtual Wallet solution offers a range of benefits:
- Cost saving - LAs typically see a reduction of 10% of their direct payment costs in year 1.
- No paperwork – clients and families no longer need to collect receipts and submit returns
- Direct payment plan – all information about the direct payment is held in the Virtual Wallet which has made gathering information for reviews much easier
- Full audit trail – clients and BCC can see detailed transactions on their account including what has been spent, with who, and what is due.
- Protection from debt – the system prevents clients from overspending and it alerts BCC if a provider puts their rates up
- Protection from fraudulent activities – the system ensures that funds are spent on appropriate services and activities
- Regular and reliable payments for providers – an easy process for all involved that has significantly reduced management workload by not having to deal with debt issues and ensures that providers are paid without delay
- Resilience – in emergencies (provider failure, adverse weather etc) BCC has access to detailed information about who is providing care, so a back-up plan can be put in place
- Safe and secure – it’s a tried and tested system built for managing care services.
Why not watch a brief overview of how Virtual Wallet works?
“Virtual Wallet has enabled us to deliver £290k of in-year savings by embedding Digital at the heart of our business. This has simplified the management of Direct Payments for Clients, Providers and BCC. It also enabled us to claw-back over £1m of unspent funds, within two weeks of the end of the financial year." Marcia Smith, Head of Business Improvement – Communities Health and Social Care at Buckinghamshire County Council.