Bristol City Council is changing the way it runs its Direct Payments. At the moment your Direct Payment funding is transferred into the bank account you use for your Direct Payment by the Council.
The Council are now asking Direct Payment customers if they would like to switch to a pre-payment card system instead, run by a company called Prepaid Financial Services (PFS) on behalf of The Council. The Council call this a BDPA (Bristol Direct Payment Account).
The Council will issue you with a card that acts like a debit card and you can use it to pay for services using Chip and PIN, Standing Order or Direct Debit, over the internet, by bank transfer, or by telephone. You can check your account balance online, by text message or by telephone. However the account won't have a cheque book facility.
If your Direct Payment funding is in a bank account managed by you, you have total control over how you do your banking and don’t have to use the internet or phone if you don’t want to. If the Council ask you to return any of your funding you can question their decision if you disagree with it before you return it. You do however have to keep a record of exactly what you spend your Direct Payment on and keep all your receipts.
With the Pre-paid Card System or BDPA, the Council has direct access to your account and can take money out without your agreement. Although they are meant to notify you first, they can take the money before they respond to any objection you might raise.
It is up to you to decide which system works best for you but you DO NOT have to transfer to the Pre-paid Card System if you prefer not to.
In line with the Care Act 2014 you have the right to choose which payment method suits you best.
If you have already transferred your Direct Payment funding to a Pre-paid Card System, you can request to go back to receiving your Direct payment funding into a separate bank account managed by you, like you did before. The choice is yours.
If you have any more questions or would like further advice, our team of Direct Payment Advisors would be happy to help you. You can contact us on:
Direct Payment Helpline: 0117 947 9933
Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm