Cost savings on the menu as Luton goes cashless
Published by Max Salsbury for allpay Limited in Local Government and also in Finance
Luton Borough Council has turned to the latest in payment technology to achieve substantial cost savings by streamlining its cash collection operation in schools.
The council has begun using a cashless catering solution from payment specialists allpay inside schools such as Beech Hill Primary and Stopsley Community Primary to remove all cash handling for school meals.
In total, allpay Cashless is scheduled to go live in 52 schools in Luton, a move that will result in an increase in school meal uptake as well as ensuring money given to pupils by parents is spent in school and not outside the premises.
In addition to Luton, allpay is currently rolling out its cashless catering solution to schools in Hounslow after being named the local authority's preferred supplier.
Ferri Fassihi, General Catering Services Manager at Luton Borough Council, said “We wanted to find a solution that could streamline our cash collection processes, primarily by taking cash away from schools, but also one that would improve the quality of service given to pupils and parents. The solution helps to reduce bullying and increase meal uptake as pupils on free school meals are kept anonymous from their peers.
“We also utilised the availability of the NHC framework agreement with allpay which meant that our council did not have to perform a costly tender exercise before making a decision on the cashless catering provider.”
Parents are set to receive balance alerts from the school when their child’s account is running low, following which they can credit the account online, over the phone, via smartphone App, or by cash at any PayPoint or Post Office® outlet.
Pupils will then pay for school meals at the point of sale by using a swipecard or through a biometric fingertip reading – with funds then deducted from the account.
Marshall Haldane, Operations Director at allpay, said “Schools and local authorities across the country are quickly realising the benefits of removing cash from their premises. Our cashless system can be used for all incoming payments made by parents, not just for school meals, including payments for school trips, uniform and music lessons.”
The Government has endorsed a recommendation made in The School Food Plan – an independent review of school food commissioned by the Secretary of State for Education – for schools to operate cashless payment systems to “shorten queuing times and prevent free school meal children from being stigmatised”.