Council Takes Sting Out Of Parking Fines

Acutely aware of the annoyance experienced and humiliation inflicted on those who get parking fines, Frankston City Council is making payment of those fines just a little more palatable by embracing leading edge payment system Bill Express.

Council residents have been able to pay rates at newsagencies and Coles supermarkets via Bill Express for the last year, with collection rates having soared to more 95 percent for the Victorian council since Bill Express came online, according to council Coordinator Rates and Valuations, Ian Holland. Extending the service to parking infringements is intended to take the sting out of such fines.

“There’s nothing worse for a person who have just received a parking fine than to have to come up to the Council Offices because of a) the annoyance about the fine and b) the humility about the fine, whereas if they can whip into the newsagents or dial into the Internet at home to pay it, it takes away that requirement for the face to face contact with the council offices.

“I think you can’t be happy about getting an infringement, but if you acknowledge that you’ve done the wrong thing, to be able to pay it the most convenient way for yourself has got to be a win/win situation overall.”

Frankston was one of the first Councils to provide residents the opportunity to pay council notices on the Internet, over the telephone using Interactive Voice Recognition (IVR) technology, as well as physical transactions at newsagencies and Coles Supermarkets.

“We are beating our targets for collections because we are committed to making it as easy as possible for our residents to pay rates notices,” Holland says. “This means our council has better cashflow and fewer reminder notices to send out. Efficient and convenient payment systems really make a difference to us.”

And they also make a major difference to customers. Holland says extending B-Pay type services to “the powerful network of newsagencies” throughout Australia makes interacting with Council far more convenient.

“It means you can be on holidays say up at Noosa, for example; you realise that you’ve got to pay your quarterly rates, you can ring your kids at home to get the biller ID and your ID number and the amount, and you can go down to the local newsagents and pay it. From Frankston City Council’s perspective, we are trying to make it as convenient as humanly possible for our customers to make their payment of rates without inconvenience to them.”

Frankston City Council uses the Bill Express online reporting tool to track the daily clearance for all payments, including rates, parking infringements and animal registrations. Council staff also use the online reporting tool to analyse and forecast the payments on the Bill Express system to assist in financial forecasting. They can even trace individual payments in the case of a customer inquiry.

“I am confident Bill Express will make a big contribution to the council and its quality of service for our customers,” Ian Holland said.