Many will remember that back in 2009 we were collecting Capitation Fees by using Capitation Books that the Branch ordered from HQ and were then invoiced for them. The main ticket from the book was kept by the member on payment of his/her fee and the counter foils were then returned to HQ. Any unsold books were also returned to HQ for the Branch to be reimbursed.


The problems we had as a Branch were firstly trying to estimate the number of books we would need to cater for all current and any potential new members, and secondly trying to get around our membership across a wide area of Lochaber. To get around these problems, with the blessing of the bulk of our members, we introduced payment of Capitation Fees by Standing Order Mandates. This proved to be a great success and we quickly had 70% of the Branch using the system; however, this still left us with 30% preferring to keep their money under the mattress and pay by cash.


What was immediately noticeable, was the significant drop in the workload of our Membership Secretary. Things continued to work well until it was agreed to raise Capitation Fees by £1.00 a year for the next three years and at that time having to keep change Standing Order Mandates each year became unwieldy.

For us, the introduction of the HQ Direct Debit System was the answer to our prayers and, because 70% of the Branch were already used to having their Capitation Fees automatically recovered, we had no problems and in getting them to cross over from a Standing Order Mandate to Direct Debit.

The added bonus is that, provided we have told HQ what to charge, we can also use the Direct Debit to recover our own Branch Subs which HQ pay directly into our Branch account.


Although we have had a few teething problems, notably: members not giving their correct bank details; members forgetting to cancel Standing Order Mandates and a one-off HQ bank glitch, the whole process has been quite painless and once again the workload on the Membership Secretary and the Treasurer have reduced. It may not be suitable for all Branches but it certainly works for us, so why not give it a go?


If you want more information on how to pay your membership fee by Direct Debit please speak to your Branch or call Head Office on 0131 550 1548.