London Borough of Tower Hamlets Select PCF's Cheque Printing System

London Borough of Tower HamletsThe London Borough of Tower Hamlets (LBTH) is located in the east end of London with over 180,000 residents. LBTH provides in excess of 400,000 cheques per annum through their Creditors and Housing Benefit systems.

LBTH's original method was to franchise out the cheque production to an external IT company. This was found to be highly expensive and inflexible according to Vic Luck the Cashiers Manager. The decision was made at the end of 2004 to tender for an in house cheque production, and finally after careful selection the PCF!secure MICR cheque system was chosen.

The PCF software was installed at the end of February 2005 and was fully operational in April after testing and development. LBTH installed two Troy MICR 4200 printers supplied by PCF to cater for their volume of cheques. PCF hold in stock back up supplies of MICR printer toners and APACS security printed cheques which include a special logo hologram.

The PCF!secure software operates on a Windows 2003 server, LBTH's JDE software supplies the cheque data seamlessly to the PCF!secure MICR software. Whenever cheques are to be produced the financial systems manager receives an automatic email informing that there are cheques on the system to be authorised. The manager can then view the cheque file which is held encrypted on the server and approve or decline the cheque run. Details such as cheque numbers, total number of cheques, values and payees names are all visible the PC screen. For LBTH this is a twice weekly exercise with cheque print batches ranging between 400-600 cheques. The same applies within the Housing Benefit department where they see their own individual cheque runs ranging from 1300-1500 per week, with an additional 2000 at the end of every month.

After electronic sign off, the most senior manager then takes the approved cheques from the Troy cheque laser printer where the software has automatically applied the correct cheque template design and controlled continuation pages and printed the relevant signatures onto the cheques. OMR marks have also been added automatically for the enveloping machines to be controlled accurately.

In all, since the system has been implemented, it has proven to be very easy to use and it has streamlined the process while providing excellent flexibility.

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