ISSUES with a newly implemented computer system have led to missed payments to foster carers across Hampshire.

Normally, foster parents receive a weekly remittance which acts as an allowance for each child in their care. This goes towards food, clothes, activities and other items.

In December, Hampshire County Council changed to a new computer system, MOSAIC, to resolve already existing issues with payments and cut down on the reliance on social workers.

However, due to an error during the changeover, several foster parents did not receive payment on Friday, December 15, the first Friday after the change, with many more not being paid over the last few weeks.

Mary Whitmore, from Waterlooville, who has worked as a carer for almost seven years, said that she is owed approximately £5,000 from Hampshire County Council.

Andover Advertiser: Mary Whitmore said she is down £5,000 due to the missed paymentsMary Whitmore said she is down £5,000 due to the missed payments (Image: Mary Whitmore)She said: “I haven’t received any payments since the end of October. I have emailed several people, and they all say ‘Oh, we’ll sort it out’, and I know they will eventually, but it’s now nearly the middle of January and I’ve had to dip into my savings.

“I think they need to understand that we, as foster carers, have bills to pay. We have the foster children, so we’ve got uniforms and food and transport; we still have our costs.”

Mark Hughes, who fosters children with his partner Sarah in Waterlooville, said that they have not received payments for approximately five weeks. He said: “It hasn’t affected us too badly, but we’re having to chase each week to try and get our payments – we’re having to have emergency payments made each week, which is frustrating.

“We’re not thinking about leaving fostering but we have heard that others are and with the national shortage of foster carers that is the last thing that anyone wants.”

A Hampshire County Council spokesperson said: “We have recently completed a significant move to a new IT system, involving the secure transfer of many thousands of individual items of data. While successful in the main, the move has unfortunately resulted in an unforeseen delay in payments to some of the local authority’s foster carers.

Andover Advertiser: Hampshire County Council says it is trying to rectify the issueHampshire County Council says it is trying to rectify the issue (Image: Newsquest)“We are extremely sorry this has occurred. Our foster carers play a huge and incredibly valued role in supporting some of the county’s most vulnerable children and young people, and we understand how stretched many people’s budgets are at the current time.

“We have teams working around the clock to make any outstanding payments as quickly as possible and we can confirm that the majority of affected carers received their payments shortly after we were first made aware of the issue. We continue to keep those still awaiting payment individually updated, and we want to thank them for their continued patience at what we know has been a frustrating time.

“We do recognise that some foster carers have previously experienced intermittent payment issues and the move to a new IT system is intended to eradicate these in the longer term.”