Published: 15/07/2017 13:00 - Updated: 14/07/2017 11:48

Computer gurus to probe Highland Council IT problems

Written byKenny MacDonald

The council has come under fire for losing income.COUNCIL officials have played down fears that a switch from PayPoint to PayAll could cause chaos – despite asking for an extra month to introduce it.

The Highland Council’s online services crashed spectacularly last Friday sparking widespread problems at schools, leisure centres and its headquarters.

And during the chaos several people complained they were unable to make council tax payments using PayPoint machines in stores.

Now Highland Council has confirmed it will be changing to PayAll in August.

A spokeswoman said: “Initially the council had an agreement since 1 April, 2011 with Co-op Bank to manage payments taken at post offices and PayPoint outlets.

“In November 2016 the Co-op Bank informed Highland Council it was pulling out of the local authority market altogether. Hence the council needed to source an alternative payment services supplier. PayAll is the new supplier for payments made at Post Offices and PayPoint outlets.

“The transfer from old to new supplier was due to take place on July 1 but we had to delay by one month due to technical difficulties. We anticipate this being fully resolved imminently. Alternative details on how to pay council tax are on our website at www.highland.gov.uk/counciltax.”

Co-op Bank’s public relations manager Nicki Parry said: “The Co-operative Bank notified the council towards the end of last year that the bank would not be continuing to offer bill payment services and gave all impacted councils adequate notice that the service would need to be provided by an alternative supplier.

“Since then the council has found, and is moving to, the new supplier and there was an extension granted to the original timescale by the bank.

“That means the service from the bank will end on August 1 and then operated by the new supplier, instead of the initial July 17 date.

“This switchover of electronic service is happening in the background. If there have been any issues in relation to PayPoint payments then this is not as a result of any action by the bank as the service has continually been available since the start of the contract and will continue to be until the termination of the agreement on August 1.”   

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