McCann-Erickson Manchester has scooped the three-year-long pounds 6
million task of selling to a sceptical public the Government’s
controversial new scheme to pay benefits by credit card.
Under the plan, order books and giros will give way to a new plastic
smartcard, which claimants can use at post office counters. Here, a
single ‘swipe’ through specially installed machines will reveal what
payments are due.
The pounds 1.5 billion scheme is expected to save around pounds 150
million in benefits fraud, according to the estimates of the Social
Security Secretary, Peter Lilley, since the cards will not carry visible
details of which benefit is payable.
McCanns has been working with Pathway - the ICL-led consortium appointed
to install the technology - virtually since its inception two years ago.
The managing director of McCanns Manchester, Brian Child, called the
victory a ‘tremendous win’, and said the agency would handle an
education campaign that would include television, press, posters and
radio, as well as an intensive direct marketing drive.
The scheme involves installing computers in 20,000 post offices over the
next three years, while the promotional activity will be carried out.
Child benefit customers will receive the cards first, after which the
scheme will be extended to an eventual 20 million benefit recipients.
Apart from ICL, the Pathway consortium includes De La Rue, Girobank, the
Irish post office, An Post - which already operates a similar service -
BT, Oracle, Microsoft, the US software company, Escher, and Hambros