Newcheck on­coun­cil of­fi­cials

Lennox Herald - - NEWS - Lor­raine Weir

Par­ents will be able to pay for their child’s school meals on­line in a new sys­tem which is to be rolled out across West Dun­bar­ton­shire.

A cash­less sys­tem will al­low on­line pay­ments for meals and other trans­ac­tions, such as school trips.

Cur­rently reval­u­a­tion ma­chines are used in all of West Dun­bar­ton­shire Coun­cil’s sec­ondary schools.

Pupils put cash into the ma­chine, which puts credit on a card which they present at lunchtime in ex­change for school meals.

A re­port to the coun­cil’s ten­der­ing com­mit­tee reads: “While this sys­tem pro­vides a small de­gree of cash­less op­er­a­tion at the point of sale, the cash gen­er­ated has to be re­moved by courier from the school of­fice on a reg­u­lar ba­sis.

“It is en­vis­aged that a par­entto-bank pay­ment op­tion would re­duce and even­tu­ally re­move the re­quire­ment for the ma­chines and would pro­vide cost sav­ings on their rental, main­te­nance and up­dat­ing to ac­com­mo­date changes to coins or notes.”

The com­mit­tee is ex­pected to award Par­ent­pay Lim­ited a 30-month con­tract to de­liver the ser­vice dur­ing a meet­ing to­day (Wed­nes­day).

That would in­clude a six-month pi­lot, with the op­tion to ex­tend for a fur­ther 12 months.

It will cost the coun­cil £100,000 over three-and-a-half years, ex­clud­ing VAT.

The coun­cil’s long-term plan is to phase out the ma­chines as up­take of the on­line school pay­ments sys­tem in­creases.

Par­ents will still be able to pay us­ing Pay­point and at the school of­fice. A com­mit­tee could be formed to keep a tight reign on de­ci­sions be­ing made by coun­cil of­fi­cers with­out in­put from elected mem­bers.

West Dun­bar­ton­shire Com­mu­nity Party mem­ber Jim Bol­lan sug­gested at a meet­ing of the coun­cil that a group of mem­bers should be tasked with com­pil­ing a list of de­ci­sions un­elected of­fi­cials are able to make.

The coun­cil­lor also ex­pressed con­cern about the num­ber of meet­ings held be­tween of­fi­cers and mem­bers with no writ­ten agenda and which ex­clude the press and mem­bers of the pub­lic from at­tend­ing.

Coun­cil­lor Bol­lan said: “There should be a cross party sub­com­mit­tee of the coun­cil to specif­i­cally look at the del­e­gated pow­ers se­nior of­fi­cers are able to im­ple­ment with­out com­ing back to the demo­cratic process.

“I think one way to deal with this is to set up a sub-com­mit­tee that re­flects the po­lit­i­cal make-up of the coun­cil and let the sub-com­mit­tee go away and seek a de­tailed list of all del­e­gated pow­ers of­fi­cers are able to im­ple­ment at the mo­ment.”

Coun­cil leader Jonathan McColl re­sponded: “It’s some­thing I am happy to look at and we will find the best way go­ing for­ward.”

Plans are for the com­mit­tee to be made up of three mem­bers of the ad­min­is­tra­tion, two Labour mem­bers and two oth­ers.

Char­ac­ter Archie Arnold was an“ab­so­lute gen­tle­man” Tragedy Archie Arnold with mum Mar­garet

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