Surrey Extra FAQs

The voluntary benefits provision within the Council has been reviewed and retendered and we are delighted to announce that My Staff Shop has been chosen as the new provider from 1 July 2018. My Staff Shop offers a wide range of discounts. Once registered, you will be able to save money on everyday spending as well as holidays, eating out and leisure activities.

What is Surrey Extra?

Surrey Extra is an externally hosted benefits website available to all Surrey County Council employees. This is an element of MyBenefits which is contracted to us by a company called My Staff Shop. The site offers a wide range of discounts on everyday shopping, such as: supermarket shopping, holidays, household goods, gifts for family and friends, cinema tickets, weekends away and much more.

Why was My Staff Shop chosen as an employee benefits scheme provider?
In November 2017, the council began the procurement search for a new voluntary benefits provider, offering staff discounts which were over and above what was already available through MyBenefits. We went out to tender and three organisations put forward an application. In January 2018, we met with all providers and they were asked to give a presentation and answer our questions. After evaluation, it was decided My Staff Shop were by far the best value and were able to provide us with discounts and offers which met and exceeded the existing system. (Previously a similar tendering process had been done for the attribution of the contract to Sodexo/P&MM in January 2013.)

How much does this cost the Council?
The system is entirely funded by the tax and national insurance savings the council makes through the salary sacrifice Childcare Vouchers, Cycle to Work or Lease-car schemes. This means we can provide a full and exciting range of discounts at no cost to the council and, at the same time, ensure the entire discount is passed on to staff.

Is this replacing Sodexo Lifestyle Benefits?
Yes, as our contract with Sodexo (P&MM) ceased on 30 June 2018.

How much can I save?
With over 9,000 discounts available we are sure everybody will be able to make some significant savings. Supermarkets and high-street chains are offering up to 15% off reloadable gift cards and vouchers.

Typical savings may be:

  • £20 each month/£240 per year on supermarket shopping (based on £400 monthly spend)
  • £48 on a holiday (based on £800 spent at Thomas Cook)
  • £40 on a new computer (based on £500 spent at Curry's or PC World)
  • £40 on home improvements (based on £400 spent in B&Q)
  • £20 on a weekend away (based on a £200 break)

Using Surrey Extra

How do I register?

In order to access the retail discounts and salary sacrifice schemes, you will need to register on the website from 1 July 2018.

All you need to register is your payroll number (shown on your payslip) and date of birth.

Step 1. Go to
Step 2. Enter your primary payroll number and date of birth
Step 3. Read and accept the terms and conditions and privacy notice
Step 4. Click 'Activate' to commence registration
Step 5. Complete your profile and create a password

You will receive an email following eligibility checks to confirm that you have full access to the scheme and can start saving.

What is my payroll number?
Your payroll number is the same as your personnel number. This can be found on your payslip. If you are very recently hired and have not received your first payslip, please ask My Helpdesk HR (0208 5419000 option 1).

What if I have more than one payroll number?
You will need to enter your primary personnel number, which can be found on your payslip. If you are not sure what this, please call MyHelpdesk on 020 8541 9000 and they will be happy to advise.

Who should I contact if I have not received a confirmation that I can now access Surrey Extra?
If you registered with Surrey extra and have not received an email confirming access to Surrey Extra after 10 days, please call My Helpdesk HR (0208 5419000 option 1). If they are not able to resolve the issue, they will put you in touch with the Surrey Extra team.

What should I do if I have forgotten my password for Surrey Extra?
Simply go to Surrey Extra and click on 'Forgotten Password'. You will need to input your email address and click on 'send me a new Password' button. A password reminder will be emailed to you.

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My Membership (Love2shop) card

What is My Membership (Love2shop) card?
My Staff Shop provides you with a Love2shop card that can be used in two ways:

  1. It is a pre-paid reloadable card that can save you 7% on participating retailers (such as Argos, Boots, M&S, Iceland, Superdrug, Waterstones, Wilko, Oasis, PC World, Cycle Republic…)
  2. It can also be used as a membership card as a proof of eligibility for local discounts listed on the "Local Deals" part of the Surrey Extra website.

The membership cards will be available from the receptions at County Hall, Fairmount, Consort House, Quadrant Court, Merrow Complex and Surrey Fire and Rescue headquarters. Each employee is entitled to one card.
When picking up a card, make sure that you have your Surrey ID card or a recent Surrey payslip with you to prove eligibility.

Do I need to activate my Love2shop card?
You are required to activate your card by registering your details online prior to use.

How do I activate my Love2shop card?
Log into Surrey Extra, click on the Membership card tab. the card's long number and click the Save button.

I'm experiencing difficulties registering my card online.
There may be a technical problem. Either try again, double checking the card information are entered correctly, or call My Staff Shop's Card Services Team on 0344 375 0739 between the hours of 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday, excluding UK Bank Holidays.

How do I top up the Love2shop card?
Once you have activated your card, you will be able to top it up in the Membership card section of Surrey Extra. Note that the first top-up on a new card has a £1.50 fee.

Is there any cost?

Note that the first top-up on a new card has a £1.50 fee - this is one-off fee and is the equivalent of having no discount on just your first £21.50 load. Every top-up after that gets the full 7% with no further charges.

Where can I use my Love2shop card?

You can use your pre-paid Love2shop card to pay at a number of UK stores and attractions (such as Boots, Argos, Iceland, Waterstones, Cycle Republic...). Some retailers have Love2shop Card Restrictions.

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Reloadable Cards and Shopping Vouchers

What is a reloadable shopping card?
A reloadable card works by preloading money onto a card bought through Surrey Extra, at a discounted rate. The card is sent to you securely through the post and then you use the card to pay for your shopping at your chosen retailer. Keep hold of the card and you can load it again, ready for your next shop.

Does the money on a reloadable card expire?
Yes, normally 12 months onwards, however, please check the terms and conditions per retailer for the expiry date.

Can I automatically top-up a reloadable card each month?
Unfortunately we are unable to offer this facility at the moment, but it is very quick and easy to top-up through Surrey Extra. This gives you the flexibility of topping up as and when you are ready.

Can I buy a reloadable card for other people?
Only registered users can buy reloadable cards, but users can certainly pass them on to a friend or family member. They can be given as gifts or passed to children.

How many reloadable cards can I buy?
There is no limit to the number of reloadable cards you can buy.

How do I pay for my reloadable card?
You can pay using a credit or debit card.

How will I receive my reloadable card?
Reloadable cards are sent securely through the post, and postage is free. When you receive your card you will receive instructions on how to activate your card through the retailers website.

What is the difference between a reloadable card and shopping vouchers?
Reloadable cards can be used over and over again by being topped up. Shopping vouchers are paper based and are for one off use. Most retailers will use reloadable cards but there are still a few using paper vouchers.

What will happen if I return an item to the shop?
If you return an item to a shop, the credit will be refunded back onto your reloadable card or you will receive a credit-voucher from the shop. The money will not be refunded onto a credit or debit card.

There is a retailer I would like to see on Surrey Extra, how can I suggest this is added to the site?

To recommend a local retailer, please log in Surrey Extra website and navigate to 'Local deals' where you will find a link to Recommend a local retailer. You will get to enter information about the retailer on an online form and submit the form. The Local deals team of My Staff Shop will then contact the retailer directly to progress your suggestion.

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Reward Beans

What are Reward Beans?
Reward Beans are the My Staff Shop virtual savings currency available on Surrey Extra, enabling you to accumulate your savings and rewards to fund purchases on an ever increasing range of goods and services on My Staff Shop/Surrey Extra. Every Reward Bean you earn has a redeemable value of 1p, so 100 Reward Beans = £1.

Where can I collect Rewards Beans on My Staff Shop?
Each offer will specify when Reward Beans are available and the level at which they will be awarded.
The offer will tell you how many Reward Beans will be earned if you make a purchase. For example an offer may say 5x Reward Beans which means that for every £1 you spend you will receive 5 Reward Beans. So if you were to spend £100 you would receive 500 Reward Beans which would be redeemable as a £5 discount on a purchase.
Every offer if different and so you must check the details before purchase.
Reward Beans may also be available as competitions prizes, special promotions and awards.

What are the benefits of Reward Beans?
Reward Beans are part of the unique goal setting feature My Beanstalk of My Staff Shop (on Surrey Extra) which allows you to set your own goals and then keeps track of your progress to help you focus on the 'big picture' and ensure you don't lose your direction.

How do I save my Reward Beans?
Each time you earn Reward Beans they will be credited to your Bean Account.
Reward Beans are credited usually within 16 days.
You can check the amount of Reward Beans you have collected on your Reward Bean Statement which you can access via your Surrey Extra account.
The statement will give you a total of the Reward Beans you have collected, how many you have spent and the balance remaining.
You can also see a breakdown of each transaction you have made and the number of Reward Beans earned so that you can check your Reward Beans have been allocated to your account.

When can my Reward Beans be redeemed?
Reward Beans are allocated when you make a qualifying purchase (i.e. one which has a Reward Bean offer) but are not earned until any period allowed for cancellation of the purchase has expired. During that time the Reward Beans will be shown on your statement but will not be available for redemption.

How do I redeem Reward Beans?
You can use the Reward Beans to pay for any purchases which carry a Reward Bean offer or any other offer which has the Reward Bean symbol displayed.
To allocate the Reward Beans towards a purchase which awards Reward Bean select the "Pay with Points" option during checkout.
If you are purchasing an item which does not have a Reward Bean offer then the purchase will be processed by the customer service department of My Staff Shop.
Only Reward Beans that are fully processed as earned will be eligible to be redeemed. You will not be able to redeem any Reward Beans which are allocated to purchases which are eligible for return until the return period has expired.

Can I redeem Reward Beans for cash?
No. Reward Beans can only be used against purchases on Surrey Extra.

Do Reward Beans expire?
As long as you a member of My Staff Shop your Reward Beans remain valid.

Do Reward Beans affect my other points programs?
No, it does not prevent you from earning points, miles or any other currency from your other points programs.

Can I convert WOWPoints into Reward Beans?
To convert your WOWPoints to Reward Beans you will first need to convert the WOWPoints to cash in the My Staff Shop bank account and My Staff Shop will then credit your Bean Account with the equivalent amount of Reward Beans. Click on the link to the WOWPoints page and follow the steps for redeeming WOWPoints. You can contact customer services on 03300 242 281 for the My Staff Shop bank account details.
Once you have made the transfer please notify My Staff Shop of the exact amount you have transferred over by emailing us at
Within 5 days we will allocate the Reward Beans to your account and notify you that we have done so.

What is Beanstalk?
Beanstalk is a unique goal setting and tracking system to help you get the most from your My Staff Shop savings. It allows you to match your savings with goals you set so that you can see how your savings add up over time.
You can set up to three goals from one or more of the three goal categories - Material, Financial, and Charity & Environment – and then start saving. Once you've decided on your first set of goals, you can keep the process going by reviewing and updating your targets periodically.

For further information on Reward Beans and Beanstalk please read the FAQs on the Surrey Extra.

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What is salary sacrifice?

Salary sacrifice is giving up part of your cash pay under your contract of employment, in return for some form of non-cash benefit. Through MyBenefits, Childcare Vouchers, Lease cars and Cycle2Work are available as HMRC approved salary sacrifice. The monthly amount is deducted from gross pay, which reduces tax and national insurance contributions. Further information can be found on the Money Advice website.

Does salary sacrifice affect my entitlement to state benefits and tax credits?
A salary sacrifice may affect your entitlement to state benefits and tax credits and you should carefully consider the possible effects before you decide to go ahead with a change in your monthly net-pay. The information that follows is based on the rules that apply at the time of writing.

As your entitlement to some state benefits is based on NI contributions, and others on the amount of annual earnings, entering into a salary sacrifice may affect your current or future entitlement to a range of benefits. There is a calculator on Surrey Extra which calculates whether or not you are eligible to apply for salary sacrifice schemes. Alternatively you can contact MyHelpdesk on 020 8541 9000 who will be able to answer any questions.

Minimum Earning Requirement

From 1 April 2016 it is a requirement of HMRC for all approved salary sacrifice schemes that, if you are aged over 25, your gross basic pay does not fall below the new higher National Living Wage (NLW). The requirement for those aged between 18 and 24 remains the lower National Minimum Wage (NMW).

  • To comply with HMRC requirements the remaining gross salary is calculated after taking all salary sacrifice deductions into account, not just that for an individual scheme. Compliance will be monitored by Employee Services.
  • If you are currently between 22 and 24 years of age you should bear in mind that the earnings requirement will tighten with effect from your 25th birthday. This may be a particular issue if you are considering entering into an arrangement to lease a company car, over a period of up to 36 months, and/or if you enter into more than one salary sacrifice arrangement that will combine to reduce the amount of your gross salary.

What happens if I leave Surrey County Council part-way through a salary sacrifice agreement?

Childcare vouchers: If you leave the council whilst enrolled with the Childcare voucher scheme, the usual monthly deductions will cease after your final pay. You will then be able to access and use any balance in your childcare voucher account, after you have left employment.

Lease car: If you leave the council whilst participating in the car lease scheme, you will be required to return the car at the end of your final month of employment. The council is covered by early termination insurance so there will be no fees payable, unless you leave the scheme outside of the agreed terms and conditions. These terms and conditions can be found on the Leasedrive website.

Cycle to work: If you leave employment part-way through a bike lease, the outstanding balance will be deducted from your final pay and you will be able to keep the benefit for the remainder of the contract. The balance is deducted after tax and NI has been paid as you will not receive any tax and NI savings whilst using the benefit outside of employment. If applicable, the benefit provider will be in touch at the end of the agreement to make arrangements to return the bike.

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Childcare Vouchers Scheme

I am a new employee, when can I apply for childcare vouchers?
As the government has launched its tax free childcare scheme in 2017, employer childcare voucher schemes are now closed to new entrants (October 2018) and it is no longer possible to join the Surrey County Council's scheme.

I am current user of the Childcare Voucher Scheme - Can I alter the value of childcare vouchers I receive at anytime?
Yes you can if there is a change in circumstances. If you alter/cancel your order before the tenth of the month, Employee Services will process your request by that month's payday. Any amendments after the tenth will be processed by the following payday.

For further FAQ's please log-in to Surrey Extra and navigate to My Childcare.