Taranto Integration with London Councils’ Electronic Data Interchange

Case Study

Taranto Integration with London Councils’ Electronic Data Interchange

London Councils' logo

The problem

Managing PCN appeals is a major challenge for Local Authorities.

With each appeal received, staff must pull together relevant details, including a statement of events and any case details including images and correspondence to and from the authority and appellant. Once gathered, this information must be uploaded to London Tribunals, an independent organisation, for review and to confirm the outcome of the appeal.

Now consider that more than 5 million Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) were issued in London during the 2020-21 enforcement period, resulting in some 30,000 appeals received by London Tribunals.

The processes outlined above takes significant time and effort for already stretched authority staff.

Taranto’s integration with London Councils’ Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) was designed to address this major administrative burden.

The solution

Taranto has always made the process of gathering evidence as easy and efficient as possible. With a single button click all attachment data can be exported to a specific location directly from the Case Management screen. Items can be manually added and/or removed before a final version is uploaded.

Alternatively, Taranto can automate this process. System administrators are able to create evidence pack templates that use background Microsoft Windows Web Services to collate each pack, significantly reducing time and effort required by the end user.

However, once gathered, the pack still had to be manually uploaded and any discussions relating to the outcome had to be handled outside of the system.

London Councils’ (LC) Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) enables the electronic transfer of notifications (e.g., new appeals, decisions, adjournments) and documentation (e.g., evidence packs) between a Local Authority and the Adjudication bodies for London.

This makes the appeal process far quicker and more efficient – details are sent to London Tribunals directly with no requirement for manual file upload.

Fig1 (Click to expand) – Taranto Case Management screen after a user has selected the “Export attachment” button highlighted. The attachments are opened at the bottom of the screen in a zip file.

Fig2 (Click to expand) – Taranto Evidence Pack template allows users to automate the creation of an evidence pack

How does it work?

Appeal is made to London Councils following NoR sent by council

LC then send a notification to Taranto directly & electronically with their reference

Council confirm the case in question and prepare an Evidence Pack in Taranto

One copy is sent to London Tribunals via SFTP, and the other is printed to send to appellant

LC will carry out the hearing with results sent to the council over EDI

Taranto can then help deal with the response and continue progressing

A workflow item will be created in Taranto to update the appeal

User is prompted to confirm the outcome, and update the case accordingly

Case is updated and progression resumes (or stops) as directed

Council can quickly and easily update the case outcome and cancel, revert, carry on, etc.

Fig3 – Flow diagram of process

Available through Taranto

The EDI was developed by London Councils and made available to trial at the end of 2020. It was then tested with Taranto and Capita for 18 months before being made available to the rest of the market.

It is a new solution only available to the rest of the parking market in 2022 and no other enforcement system has the solution fully integrated and working live. This system has been used and refined by Capita and TFL for over a year now and work to install into several other London Boroughs has already begun.

Between London Councils, Capita and ourselves, we worked incredibly hard to ensure that the solution worked technically, but also operationally. There were many test cases used and much support was given once it was installed to ensure it delivered the time- savings the solution was designed for – both for Capita when logging appeals and for London Councils in receiving appeals. This process wasn’t easy given the solution was new and unique, but together we have built a solution which can be extended to the rest of the parking market to the huge benefit of every local authority that uses it.

The technical details

It is built up of background processes – exchanging messages and documentation through Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP). The integration between Taranto and London Councils requires the configuration of incoming and outgoing SFTP locations and the setup of workflow categories for the different message types that can be provided by LC. Once up and running, LC will create an XML file that is picked up by our service, and a workflow item in Taranto for the back-office user in response. When the user opens the workflow item, they should have the option to create an appeal pack in line with the next steps for that appeal from LC.

The technical design behind the Taranto EDI means that we can install the solution into a client’s Taranto environment and work with London Councils to obtain new test credentials for each operation that wishes to use it. After a period of testing, it is easy to ‘switch on’ and use in a live environment.

How do I get it?

The Taranto solution has a continually evolving roadmap that draws in improvement initiatives funded both internally and by clients. The key themes that populate the roadmap are reducing costs, improving efficiencies, and improving the council’s customers service and experience.

This is an example where Taranto has developed the solution for the improvement of the Taranto service.

Most Taranto clients are able to utilise this solution through system settings made by users of the system, with no wholesale development changes needed. It relies on a certain Taranto version being installed, which is present in the majority of Taranto clients in the capital.

Therefore, the solution can be set up with configuration only.

Taranto Systems never charges twice for development – so each client is able to receive new functionality without paying for bespoke development already undertaken.

The development and testing/proving process

There was a significant focus on improvements during the implementation with Capita – both parties used the testing period to refine the solution. Throughout this pilot phase Taranto Systems worked with London Councils to feed back on the technical aspects of the link, which were then used to inform version changes to EDI going forward.

An example of this was a change Taranto Systems made to the back-office system to allow users to directly respond to requests made by LC for more information and further evidence. This enabled notifications to be sent from directly within the back-office system, and further improved the efficiency of the operation.

Ways in which the innovation has been/can be applied in the wider parking sector

This solution is working live now with Capita TFL contract and London Councils.

This unique solution has been proven as a time-saver – converting what was previously around an hour of administrative work into minutes. When extrapolated across the entire contract it offers savings of thousands of working hours per client per year. In a live environment, it has enabled significant levels of time to be saved, and resources to be deployed more suitably within the Transport for London contract. The functionality is currently only operating in the Taranto software, making a truly unique innovation, which is sure to deliver more efficiency into the parking industry as more local authorities look to take advantage of the technology innovation, receive correspondence in a timely manner, minimising the stress and frustration associated with this process.

London Tribunals has successfully integrated the EDI solution between our own Case Management System “NAS” and Taranto and have been exchanging appeal data and documents since November 2020. Taranto is currently the only enforcement back-office system to have been integrated with NAS after extensive testing over an 18-month period. EDI has significantly reduced the amount of user time and effort in scanning and indexing documents at both ends of the process as data/documents are passed directly from one system to the other.