Decision details

Payment Strategy 2017- 2021 - SEP17/CAB/39

Decision Maker: Cabinet

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: Yes

Is subject to call in?: Yes


Cabinet considered the report and RESOLVED to approve:


1.    the Payment Strategy 2017 - 2021 that sets out the vision for how customers will make payments to the council in future, with an emphasis on more digital channels. This includes closure of the cash office at Bayard Place by March 2018;


2.    implementation of a change to the parking permits administration and payment by making the process entirely available online and in exceptional circumstances provision of a postal service; and


3.    implementation of a change to the taxi licensing administration and payment by making the process entirely available online.

Reasons for the decision:

The reasons for the recommendations were as follows:


·         The Payment Strategy was last updated in 2008 and since then there has been a number of changes to council services, continued dwelling and business growth resulting in more payments due to the council and technology advancements in how payments can be made.


·         The updated strategy needs to align with the council’s current and future initiatives, e.g. the implementation of the Front Door Programme which aims to transform the way customers access council services through new and improved digital channels which will enable self-serve and increase self-management by customers, and also divert demand away from council services.


·         The permit parking and taxi licensing processes were paper based and not aligned to the council’s digital strategies and how customers want to transact with the council in the future.


·         To provide the customer with a convenient, safe, accessible and more cost effective way to apply for and pay for council services.


·         To deliver the council with efficiency savings.


Alternative options considered:

Do nothing and continue with the existing Payment Strategy 2008. This was not an option as the way customers choose to interact with the council was changing, particularly now with more public services being available through digital channels. The council had a duty to ensure that it is providing best value in its delivery of services.


Do nothing and continue to provide parking permits and taxi licensing as a face to face service from either the cash office or as part of another service. This was rejected as provision of face to face services was considerably more expensive than provision of services online. Additionally, customers had reduced choice in accessing these services during normal office opening hours rather than at a time that suits them and from any device. This option was also not in alignment with the council’s Technology Strategy 2014 - 2019 or the Front Door Programme.


The continued delivery of a cash office was considered, but as Bayard Place is set to close, the council would need to finance the refurbishment of a new office and pay commercial rents for a presence in the city centre, when there are alternative, more cost effective, convenient and accessible channels available to the customer, e,g, bank, Payzone/Post Office, internet, etc. Therefore, the recommendation was not to have a cash office. It was important to note that there were over 100 locations throughout the city (i.e. banks, Payzones and post offices) which were more convenient and accessible (i.e. open longer hours than the cash office), and would accept payments for council services by cheque, cash and credit/debit cards.


Continuing to take payments over the phone was considered, but this was a very expensive payment method and as there were alternative automated touch tone telephone and digital methods, it was recommended that the council actively encourages and shifts customers to these cheaper alternatives.


Interests and Nature of Interests Declared:


Background Documents:

·         Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Policy, 2017

·         Technology Strategy 2014 - 2019

·         Government Digital Strategy, 2016

·         Government Digital Strategy, Government Digital Service, 2013

·         Government Transformation Strategy, Government Digital Services, 2017


Publication date: 25/09/2017

Date of decision: 25/09/2017

Effective from: 29/09/2017

Accompanying Documents: