The name is clumsy pun based on the core concept of providing a simple way to save weekly to pay bills and debts, and for its users to be rewarded with savings (or discounts) on services. The essence of the Saving from Poverty initiative is:
- To build on a silo application from the DWP (the Post Office Card Account soon be re-contracted as the Government Card Account), capping the cost to DWP at what they negotiate for GCA
- Improve its functionality, making it into something akin to a simple low risk bank account into which benefits and wages can be are paid and a proportion set aside to pay bills etc.
- Enable government and the private sector to benefit from reduced cost to serve for poorer consumers, as their bills are paid electronically, and charge them part of their savings (to fund running costs)
- Use part of the benefits to provide discounts and incentives to poorer consumers
- Rather than pushing users who want it away, as the DWP do, encourage those poorer consumers who need the features to use it
And manage it as a shared service governed by a Social Enterprise to make sure all profits are used to help poorer consumers.
To show that the idea is realistic we commissioned two consultancy studies, one from the Future Foundation that identifies the number and characteristics of those we'd expect to use the service and another from A T Kearney that shows that there is a sound business case based on demonstrable savings in cost by service providers, both are freely available.
This would be really great demonstration of transformational government, a shared service designed around the needs of poorer consumers.