Epping Forest District Council today announces it has purchased a payments solution from the pioneering developer of electronic payment software solutions â Albany Software. The solution removes the need for Epping Forest District Councilâs users to utilise Smart Cards to access the Bacs system, instead authorising the payments via a Thales HSM (Hardware Security Module), significantly speeding up the validation, authorisation and payment sign off process.
The Albany solution provides full end-to-end automation and seamlessly integrates the councilâs accounting infrastructure straight into Bacs with payments authorised using industry standard security.
Epping Forest District Council is a local government council, providing public services to approximately 125,000 citizens in south west Essex. The council is responsible for providing housing benefits, environmental health, housing, recycling and waste collection to the local area, as well as collecting council tax from approximately 54000 households. As more and more departments across the council turn to online solutions to submit payments electronically, Epping Forest District Council required a software solution that could process the increasing number of transactions. Whilst previously the council had a payments solution in place, it had a one concurrent user licence which could only be accessed by a Smart Card, which significantly slowed down proceedings.
Dave Wood, Business Analyst at Epping Forest District Council, comments, âInitially, we required a new payments solution as we were upgrading our internet service to IE (Internet Explorer) 8 and our previous software was only compatible with browsers up to IE 6. At the same time, we felt the need to increase the number of electronic payments that were made across our departments and as a direct consequence, the number of users was likely to grow. Our previous payments software required users to access the system with a Smart Card, but this significantly slowed down the payments process as we constantly had to rely on owners of the Smart Cards, who werenât always readily available. The Albany Software solution removes the need for Smart Cards, as online users can access the secure system immediately via an internet connection.â
Epping Forest District Council will be using the Albany Software solution for four separate functions. The council currently runs two payrolls a month for its 600 staff â one for salary payments and another for expenses â both of which will be processed through Albanyâs solution. The software will also be used to process monthly council tax collections from the local areaâs 54000 households, as well as housing rent collections for the 6500 properties that are owned by the council. Finally, up to 1000 payments will be made to the councilâs suppliers each month via the Albany Software solution.
Dave Wood continues, âEach month, we have a significant number of transactions to process, both to external suppliers and for money collected from local citizens. We need to be able to rely on a software solution that processes Bacs payments securely in critical time periods through a level of automation, and we are confident that the Albany Software solution together with the HSM hardware fits the bill perfectly.â
Dave Wood concludes, âIt is Albany Softwareâs customer service that has really impressed me. During the initial stages, they were entirely professional and structured in their approach, and the software implementation was quick and seamless. I deal with a number of suppliers in my line of work, but I am happy to say that Albany Software is easily one of the best.â