'Benefits cards' back on the agenda

  • 59 Replies
  • 9137 Views

NeuralgicNeurotic

  • *
  • Charter Member and Volunteer
  • Super Hero Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 7373

'Benefits cards' back on the agenda

  • on: 29 Jul 2016 11:59AM
https://kittysjones.wordpress.com/2016/07/14/uk-government-is-trialing-the-use-of-virtual-food-voucher-styled-currency-as-social-security-payments/


Quote
Earlier this year, the government set out proposals in a report regarding how Blockchain Technologies’ distributed ledger technology which provides “efficient and transparent” digital records of cryptocurrency transactions, could be used for public services. In their report called Distributed Ledger Technology: Beyond block chain, the government’s scientific advisor says:

“Distributed ledger technology (DLTs) offer significant challenges to established orthodoxy and assumptions of best practice, far beyond the recording of transactions and ledgers. These potentially revolutionary organisational structures and practices should be experimentally trialed — perhaps in the form of technical and non-technical demonstrator projects — so that practical, legal and policy implications can be explored.”

“Areas where we believe work could be taken forward include the protection of national infrastructure, reducing market friction for SMEs [Small and medium-sized enterprises] and the distribution of funds from Department for Work and Pensions and other government departments.” [Boldings mine.]

A distributed ledger is a database that can record financial, physical or electronic assets for sharing across a network through what is claimed to be entirely transparent updates of information.

Its first incarnation was Blockchain in 2008, which underpinned digital cash systems such as Bitcoin. The technology has now evolved into a variety of models that may be applied to different business problems.




Quote
Speaking at Payments Innovation Conference earlier this month, Lord Freud, one of the main architects of the welfare “reforms” said:

“Claimants are using an app on their phones through which they are receiving and spending their benefit payments. With their consent, their transactions are being recorded on a distributed ledger to support their financial management.”

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has been working withBarclays, Npower, University College London and a UK-based distributed ledger platform startup called GovCoin to create an app which tracks people’s benefit spending.

The ongoing trial which, is designed to demonstrate “the practical applications of the technology,” began in June. It’s another Conservative experiment on people claiming social security.

Jeremy Wilson, the vice chairman of corporate banking at Barclays, said: “This initiative focuses on adding an additional layer of richer data and identity onto payments, so that a deeper and more effective relationship can be established between the government and claimants.”

I wonder exactly what that “effective relationship” will entail? I bet it’s not one based on mutual respect and democratic dialogue. I also wonder if the Department for Work and Pensions will be issuing people who have no income with Smart phones.




Quote
How will the collected information on spending be used? Are we going to see people claiming social security being named and shamed for buying Mars bars, a bottle of wine or a book? Or birthday and Christmas presents for their children? Will the state be sanctioning people that make purchases which the government deems “unnecessary”?

He added: “We are keen to see how the positive potential of this service develops and adds to our wider efforts to explore the uses of distributed ledger technology.”

Distributed ledger technology was identified as a way of potentially “saving billions of pounds a year from welfare fraud and overpayment errors.“

Oh, that whoppingly over-inflated  0.7% of claimants again. Just imagine how many trillions we would save if we used technology to get a grip of tax avoidance.

The technology is hoped to provide a cheap and easy way of getting welfare claimants without bank accounts into the system as well as verifying their identities, and would also provide a “transparent account of how public money was spent, transform the delivery of public services and boost productivity,” the government’s chief science adviser, Sir Mark Walport, said in a report last January. Those same words are used every time vulture capitalists are circling a public service.

Walport said: “Distributed ledger technology has the potential to transform the delivery of public and private services.” More words from the vulture capitalist crib sheet of glittering generalities.

“It has the potential to redefine the relationship between government and the citizen in terms of data sharing, transparency and trust and make a leading contribution to the government’s digital transformation plan.”




Quote
The government distributes £3.8bn in payments every day. However, there are some concerns over how protection of data and privacy with the technology will be “managed.”

The Open Data Institute welcomed the findings on the whole. However, it warned that the government must be wary of the challenges involved in blockchain technology and apply it in an effective way. They say: “We agree that blockchains could be used to build confidence in government services, through public auditability, and could also be used for widely distributed data collection and publishing, such as supply chain information. Smart contracts also hold great potential; what if your train tickets were smart contracts that meant you paid less for delayed trains?”

Smart cards and smart contracts, the more things change, the more the Tories stay the same.

Further: “However, in our research we have seen cases where people are trying to bolt old, failed or impossible policy and business ideas onto the new technology or to unnecessarily reinvent things that work perfectly well.”

The institute also warned of the privacy issues raised by incorporating private data and suggested the government better develop and solve these challenges by focusing on industry specific groups such as the finance or healthcare sectors.

Having failed in introducing the punitive smart card more than once, the Conservatives are now resorting to a stealthy introduction of a variation to curtail the freedom of poor people claiming social security, using cryptocurrency, state regulation and an unprecedented, Orwellian level of state monitoring and control of what people who are struggling to make ends meet are buying.


Petition at parliament website here:

https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/159519


38 Degrees petition on the same subject:

https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/re-think-pre-paid-benefit-cards

Sunny Clouds

  • *
  • Charter Member
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4819

Re: 'Benefits cards' back on the agenda

  • on: 29 Jul 2016 01:20PM
Make sure if they bring this in that you don't have a smartphone or that if you do, you require them to provide an 'accessible version' of the app.  (Since most public services seem unable to do this, it should act as a practical opt-out clause.)
(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)

Offworld

  • *
  • Charter Member
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 552

Re: 'Benefits cards' back on the agenda

  • on: 29 Jul 2016 02:00PM

   

Perhaps they could try it out on MPs' expenses?

Sunny Clouds

  • *
  • Charter Member
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4819

Re: 'Benefits cards' back on the agenda

  • on: 29 Jul 2016 02:33PM
But surely MPs expenses are all properly used for the purpose of making obscene profits by residence-switching; for the purpose of wining and dining people with influence in companies likely to give them sky-high honorariums and expenses for being on the notepaper when they leave cabinet and maybe, but not necessarily, parliament; for eating and drinking at substantial prices in the bar and dining room in parliament; and for ensuring their relatives and sycophantic hangers-on have 'jobs' in their constituency offices.

I do hope you're not about to suggest that the nominal sum of £32 that IDS demonstrated his economy and self-sacrifice by spending on his HoC breakfast was OTT or that the quantity of alcohol that Charles Kennedy spent public money on didn't reflect good use of the small remuneration that MPs receive at taxpayers' expense?

How lacking sympathy you seem to be for those poor, underpaid, struggling MPs, the majority of whom show such understanding of people who've fallen on hard times.

 >devil<
(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)

Hurtyback

  • *
  • Charter Member
  • Super Hero Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 5800

Re: 'Benefits cards' back on the agenda

  • on: 29 Jul 2016 02:52PM
Yes, those poor, dear MPs - whose expenses are far more than many people have to live on!  >angry<


ps - Sunny, it's OK, I do recognise your irony!

auntieCtheM

  • *
  • Charter Member
  • Super Hero Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 5736

Re: 'Benefits cards' back on the agenda

  • on: 29 Jul 2016 09:07PM
An interesting concept:

"It has the potential to redefine the relationship between government and the citizen in terms of data sharing, transparency and trust"

Do we trust the system?

Monic1511

  • *
  • Moderator Welfare Rights
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2473

Re: 'Benefits cards' back on the agenda

  • on: 29 Jul 2016 09:25PM
No we don't trust the system but have the government never heard of bartering?
I know people who have no access to money but get food parcels, they then swap the food parcel for cash, sometimes they then use the cash for power cards or in worst cases drink or drugs.

people will always find a way round the system and has no one pointed out to the government that the Scottish Parliaments named person scheme has to be amended because of data sharing and the potential for confidential info being passed to the wrong people. 

Successive governments have toyed with this system and its normally scrapped via privacy and confidentiality rules
heres hoping this will go the same way
Monic

KizzyKazaer

  • *
  • Global Moderator
  • Super Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8763

Re: 'Benefits cards' back on the agenda

  • on: 29 Jul 2016 09:35PM
Quote
..people will always find a way round the system

Of course they will, this is just another attempt to exert control over those receiving benefits to make their lives as miserable as possible  >angry<

I did  >lol< at the thought of MPs having to have 'expenses cards' though!

Monic1511

  • *
  • Moderator Welfare Rights
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2473

Re: 'Benefits cards' back on the agenda

  • on: 29 Jul 2016 09:49PM
I don't mind them finding ways round the system -I just wish some of them would use the ingenuity to get a constructive job or role in life.  I'm thinking of the long term unemployed who use allsorts of antics to remain on benefit and if they redirected their efforts they could be community leaders in their areas.  Before anyone shouts at me for being judgemental I do my best for them to help them do what they want but try to encourage them to change their ways.  My job is to do the best for the client and maximise their income / benefits while maintaining their health or at least not doing anything that could make them worse. - gets me into bother with the "employability advisors" cos I'll happily tell someone you cant take that job cos your only gonna be £12.00 per week better off an you will need to walk to work cos a weekly ticket is £20.

Monic

lankou

  • *
  • Charter Member
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2945

Re: 'Benefits cards' back on the agenda

  • on: 30 Jul 2016 08:01AM

I know people who have no access to money but get food parcels, they then swap the food parcel for cash, sometimes they then use the cash for power cards or in worst cases drink or drugs.

Monic

Complete total and utter rubbish. You very obviously know (expletive deleted) all about how food banks operate, how food vouchers are issued, and how much drugs are.
A "food parcel" issued by a food bank contains three days supply of VERY basic food which has a resale value of next to (expletive deleted) all.
Only three parcels can be issued to the same person per year. (Except in VERY exceptional circumstances.)

Moderator edit:  Accusing another poster of being 'a DWP plant' and calling them 'a disgrace' is not acceptable - this is a personal attack which is against our House Rules.  Please keep the debate civil.
« Last Edit: 31 Jul 2016 07:51AM by KizzyKazaer »

Sunshine Meadows

  • *
  • Global Moderator
  • Super Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8011

Re: 'Benefits cards' back on the agenda

  • on: 30 Jul 2016 08:35AM
Not everyone who claims benefits is a good honest person and it is important that we remember that because it is those people that end up in news stories and Channel 5 documentaries who give some of the rest of us a bad name.

I remember back in the 1980s queuing at the old style benefits office to sign on and seeing people in work clothes go jump in a van off to do their 'second' job.

Lankou,

I can admire you passion and I dont know how different foodbanks work so I rely on people like you and Monic for information based on personal experience. You  are both there helping others and seeing how it is where you are.


lankou

  • *
  • Charter Member
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2945

Re: 'Benefits cards' back on the agenda

  • on: 30 Jul 2016 08:45AM
Not everyone who claims benefits is a good honest person and it is important that we remember that because it is those people that end up in news stories and Channel 5 documentaries who give some of the rest of us a bad name.

I remember back in the 1980s queuing at the old style benefits office to sign on and seeing people in work clothes go jump in a van off to do their 'second' job.

Lankou,

I can admire you passion and I dont know how different foodbanks work so I rely on people like you and Monic for information based on personal experience. You  are both there helping others and seeing how it is where you are.

There is NO evidence of widespread fraud in relation to disability benefits or JSA. As most people on this forum know getting benefits and more to the point keeping on getting them is a difficult and harrowing experience.
The few frauds get headline publicity because they are so rare.
I really HATE people who come out with "anecdotal" evidence of fraud. 
Out of the hundreds of thousands of people who phone the "shop benefit fraud" hotline every year only 0.39% (Zero Point Three Nine percent) of them are right.


Sunshine Meadows

  • *
  • Global Moderator
  • Super Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8011

Re: 'Benefits cards' back on the agenda

  • on: 30 Jul 2016 09:04AM
Lankou,

I dont want to get into an argument with you but it does seem like you are focused on one line of commentary and not looking at the detail.

Monic is a moderator on the Welfare Rights section of Ouch Too and she regularly gives her time and energy to people who ask for help there. When working in a 'customer facing' role you do see examples of the good, the bad and the ugly. For example when I started work at the call centre it never occurred to me that a customer might make up a story that they dropped the tv down the stairs and need to claim for a new one, but they did. I got people saying they were following the instructions that I was giving them to diagnose their computer only to discover they were not even with their computer. Monic mentioned getting into trouble for the honest advice she gives people. Sometimes the source of anecdotal information is a good one and I trust Monic's point of view.
 

Sunshine Meadows

  • *
  • Global Moderator
  • Super Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8011

Re: 'Benefits cards' back on the agenda

  • on: 30 Jul 2016 09:09AM
If a friend of mine was stuck using a benefit card and needed to get credit on their phone they might offer to get me some food shopping so I could give them the cash for the phone credit.

It is a normal human response not a bad thing but it does me the the reasoning behind benefit cards is flawed and a waste of time. This wont necessarily stop the Government backing and implementing such a scheme.

lankou

  • *
  • Charter Member
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2945

Re: 'Benefits cards' back on the agenda

  • on: 30 Jul 2016 09:11AM
Sometimes the source of anecdotal information is a good one and I trust Monic's point of view.

I NEVER trust anecdotal evidence that appears to come straight out of the DWP mindset or Tory HQ.
I have a 100% track record of being correct when I report benefit frauds which I do not report anonymously.
I have yet to find any fraud when it comes to disability benefits, or food banks. (In the latter case why would anyone bother it is easier to shoplift.)
I also know far more personal details about people I have helped who have been maliciously reported as frauds that I really want to know about anyone.