Dumfries & Galloway adopts e-payments for school meals
Council follows pilot by extending use to all local secondary schools and considers use for other services
Dumfries & Galloway Council has begun to roll out an online payments system across its schools following a pilot conducted last year.
It is extending the use of the iPayimpact solution, which interfaces with the council’s finance system, after a pilot focused on using it to pay for school meals at Annan Academy.
This produced positive feedback from parents, with 71% saying it was a convenient way to pay, and has led to the council to roll out the system across all of its secondary schools.
A spokesperson for Dumfries & Galloway told UKAuthority that it has produced advantages over the use of direct debits for payments.
“The system is secure, with funds received deposited directly into the relevant bank account without manual intervention,” he said. “All funds are automatically ledgered into the council reconciliation software without any manual entries required, while payments directly from bank accounts require manual recording.”
He said the benefits have been around factors other than savings, including anonymity over which children receive free school meals, ensuring the money is spent in the school canteen rather than outside, and ensuring that children do not need to carry cash. In addition, parents are more confident that their children are eating well balanced meals in the school rather than going outside, and queuing for the meals works more smoothly.
So far there about 1,400 active users of the system in the area, and it has accounted for over 5,600 transactions in this financial year.
The spokesperson added that the solution could potentially be used for other payments, such as for trips and after-school clubs.