Background

HM Treasury announced in December 2013 that cheque payments would be brought into the 21st century through a system known as image processing which will speed up cheque clearing timescales and bring other benefits to the people and businesses that use cheques. The government is also extending the benefits of imaging to paper instruments other than cheques that are currently cleared using the same system. These other instruments are bankers’ drafts, postal orders, government payable orders, warrants, travellers’ cheques and bank giro credits (“other eligible paper”).

In April 2015 the Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) was launched as the new economic regulator for the payment systems industry in the UK. It is the regulator for the cheque and credit clearings operated by the C&CCC. The C&CCC’s objectives focus on competition, open access and innovation, closely mirroring those of the regulator. As part of this, the new Image Clearing System (ICS) will be introduced later this year using new technology enabling the faster processing of paper items.

The new system will revolutionise how cheques and other eligible paper are cleared in the UK and will not only help protect cheques for as long as people and businesses wish to use them but will bring the UK paper clearing firmly into the 21st century.

About this consultation

As part of its work on introducing the ICS, the C&CCC, is consulting with interested parties on several important documents ahead of the launch of the ICS later this year.

This consultation exercise is a vital part of ensuring high standards of transparency, service user representation and open access for the new ICS.

Our consultation summary outlines the background to the consultation and will guide readers to the relevant documents included in this consultation process.

Documents subject to consultation

We have prepared a guide to the documents subject to consultation.

Below is a summary of who is allowed access to the various documents:

For the general public

The ICS Participant Terms and Conditions will be applicable to all participants that contract with the C&CCC for the ICS.

The ICS Manual provides a clear and comprehensive description of the rules, requirements and key procedures for the ICS. It forms a key part of the legal basis for the operation of the ICS.

 

For ICS settlement participants and regulators only - additional to public documentation

Should you wish to comment on the ICS settlement documentation you will be required to sign a non-disclosure agreement, prior to us releasing the documents to you. The process around obtaining one is detailed below this table.

  • ICS Settlement Framework Agreement
  • ICS Interbank Settlement Agreement

Settlement participants in the ICS can also review one further document:

  • Deed of Charge

How you can take part in this consultation

During this consultation period, interested parties can review and comment on the ICS participant terms and conditions and publicly available sections of the ICS Manual.

A non-disclosure agreement can be obtained by emailing the ICS Consultation mailbox.

Electronic responses should be made using the ICS Wider Consultation template available here and sent to the ICS Consultation mailbox no later than 5pm on Friday 28th April 2017.

Please contact ICS Participant Readiness if you would like to discuss becoming a settlement participant in the ICS.