ParentPay is causing many headaches at the moment for both sides.
Working in a school, I can see the advantages of having a web based system for handling payments. It saves so much time.
As a parent, I love it. A short text from one of my offspring and their lunch card can be topped up wherever I am. Payments for school trips, etc actually make it into school!
However, I can also see that some parents have problems with card payments and/or the internet and, because of this, schools cannot go entirely cheque/cash free and must have systems in place to handle these.
That said all of the above is only correct, IF the darm system works in the first place and, I'm afraid, ParentPay is doing very good adverts for alternative methods such as ParentMail's +Pay.
ParentPay needs to fix things quick; they may be the most common cash system for schools, but ParentMail is probably the most common email platform and schools won't feel so worried about dropping ParentPay and adding +Pay instead.
And I really hate companies whose names have a capital letter in the middle. Especially ones connected with education.
Is anyone having *more* problems?
I keep on calling and getting the same poor guys on the phone who can only send my problem to their technical team. I try and not rant at them but it's hard! we've probably lost 6/7 working days dealing with the fall out of the lovely system not working.
We are still having multiple problems, some old some new. We have one issue that has been outstanding since June. Communications have been poor and responses slow. We are getting a bit chewed up dealing with complaints from staff and parents and I'm frankly starting to wonder why we should pay the renewal.
Originally Posted by jacomus
I have been having major various issues with the ParentPay system for over a week now, Parents couldn't access the site as it went down last week for a day or two, staff that were here unable to access the site to deal with Parent issues. Dozens of Parents phoning the school which I can quite understand being a parent myself as I would be irate, but taking up considerable time of Admin and Finance staff in probably the busiest time of the year due to issues with the ParentPay system.
Unable to run ParentPay Sync software because of issue with their Website so unable to update details Free school meals etc.
Incorrect information showing on the NRS (Nationwide Systems) catering system due to ParentPay System.
I could go on but you get the drift.
Also two other schools in the borough were having similiar issues if not worse.
I have introduced or been involved a large number of new IT Systems in schools and I must say that the ParentPay system has caused the most disruption to largest number of groups in school that I have seen, Teachers and Lunchtime staff dealing with Students being worried because they didn’t have money or were in negative balance particularly year 7 parents.
IT staff who have spent considerable time looking at the ParentPay system or trying to contact ParenPay about issues , don’t get me wrong as we were one of the lucky ones as we had raised concerns about the system and support before it was introduced and so had a direct contact who resolved issues quickly only issue being one issue would get resolved and we would run into another issue.
Admin and Finance Staff who had to deal with calls from distraught parents.
To be totally honest, I don’t feel ParentPay have the infrastructure or IT support that is adequate to deal with the number of schools they have taken on and at some point they are going to lose a lot of business
Anyway cheers ParentPay, for making what is probably my busiest week of the year probably the busiest I have ever had.
Don't do it :) we are starting to think the same.
Originally Posted by pcstru
I believe we may be going ParentPay ......... "because the account manager is local" ............:lalala:
Your reply is interesting because Parentpay encourages parents to phone the school when they have a problem but that just means the school is told multiple times of the same problem. I feel really sorry for schools who have got involved and are now having to field angry and anxious parents when there's nothing they can do but apologise. I've tried not to be cross with school but they don't really help themselves as they've put nothing on their website. If they put something on the front page saying there are no updates and that it's the same for everyone and children can still get their meals then parents wouldn't need to ring. I know they don't want to advertise this huge problem but we need to know. I'm wondering how long before it hits the press...
Originally Posted by Steven_Cleaver
I think my son is taking money until this mess is sorted out!
To be honest we did put information on our website as regards the issues we were having with ParentPay, but I hadn't thought of including information as regards including information about a child never being refused a meal no matter what so we have added this, to be honest we would always do this as I am sure most if not all schools would but should publish this formation under these circumstances so many thanks for the suggestion.
Originally Posted by Banjogirl
Seems that the months and months of development have paid off for me.
As I've said before in this thread, we were very unimpressed and it might be worth some of you who are majorly cheesed off and need to move away, try calling WisePay and see if they can help you move away....
School told me happily today that the school cashless system and Parentpay were now talking. Unfortunately I had to tell them that actually they're not! Back to the drawing board for them I suppose. I'm a bit tired of it now. It appears from the Parentpay apology on their website that the problem isn't necessarily with the cashless system but with the communication between the two.
yes parentpay changed half there systems and didn't tell the companies who pay lots of money to them to collect data from them.
Originally Posted by Banjogirl
Also i'm not sure what cashless system your school is using but our supplier of this caused a huge error when doing the year end and did not bring payments over.
I think before anyone jumps out of the frying pan and into the fire it's really worth doing your research on companies dealing with payments from parents!
Here's my checklist FWIW;
1. Are they investing in their product (do they continually develop/improve it? This shows they have vision, commitment and a plan going forward, and it also shows they are making money i.e. are sustainable for the long term)!
2. Are they easily available on the telephone?
3. Do I know where their office is based and could I go and visit them if I wanted/needed to?
4. How many staff do they have? (Are they a garden shed company with only 3 or 4 employees?)
5. Have I seen their accounts for the last year or two? (Are they always late filing their accounts - trying to hide something?)
Apologies if this seems like teaching you to suck eggs, but the reality is that it's easy for a company to create a big impression and very few schools carry out the proper due diligence before engaging suppliers (especially in such an important area as this one). I've even complained to our LA that they don't ask proper questions such as 'are they profitable' and 'have their accounts been examined i.e. do they have the capacity to handle 300 schools for example!)
The company we use are superb & I looked into every one of the points above before engaging them. It turns out to have been a very good move!
The big mistake I made with parentpay int he meetings if not to ask about telephone support but I would automatically thought that the biggest company would have phone support! so I was nieve
Don't be too hard on yourself irsprint84 - appearances really can be deceiving! ParentPay are not a very big company, with only about 20 or so employees and they don't even have a main office (most of their staff still operate from their own homes). In fact most of the time you actually speak to someone at ParentPay you are speaking to someone in their own home.
Originally Posted by irsprint84
I should point out that using a small company is not always a problem and in fact can be quite the opposite in a lot of situations (personal service, rapid response, local company etc). In my experience it's usually the transition between being a small company and then becoming a bigger company which causes quite a lot of pain and often requires financial investment, commitment and often different people in the business with big company skills!
Anyway I hope I've been able to provide some useful information for the members of this thread.