The London Borough of Ealing has utilised allpay’s Post Office and PayPoint services for more than 10 years, with allpay collecting more than £12 million per annum in rent and leaseholder charges. In June 2017 – the borough’s council went live with allpay’s fully managed Direct Debit service, to provide additional flexibility to tenants for Universal Credit.
Since going live, the council has experienced a 9% increase in tenants signed up to direct debits, due to the additional flexibility offered by the service – allowing tenants to have their rent collected on any working day of the month and at any frequency.
Bev Ellis, Tenancy Account- Team Leader, at the council said:
"Before, we could only collect on four days in the month, with only a monthly frequency. We were also reliant on tenants posting back paper mandates, which often contained errors or the handwriting was difficult to read. This was a largely manual process, as this information then had to be keyed into our systems. With the extra frequencies such as weekly and fortnightly, it’s become more attractive to tenants – with a number taking up the weekly option.
The set-up procedure is also more streamlined as we can now set the instruction up paperlessly over the phone and input this directly into allpay’s cloud-based software, as oppose to waiting for this to be completed and sent in by tenants.
Previously, direct debit set-ups were handled by the tenancy officers – and within that team three officers had responsibility. However, with allpay’s cloud-based platform, we’ve enabled the rent officers to set-up instructions, so 14 council personnel now have the ability to set-up instructions, allowing us to increase take-up. As allpay’s service includes the Bacs submissions and letter production, this has also saved staff time, as every Bacs submission was an hour out of the teams’ time – with allpay, they automatically submit the files to Bacs daily and produce and despatch the letters directly to tenants.
We also believe it will save a number of days’ time during the annual rent change procedure, which previously involved the team manually merging letters. The implementation and migration has gone well on the whole – there was some initial confusion over when allpay would be sending out cancellation letters to tenants for certain Bacs error codes e.g. incompatible bank details, but this has now been better communicated to the council so we are aware of this and can advise tenants accordingly."
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