The SmartConnect Card Management System


Bracknell Forest Council (BFC) have been an early adopter and leader in the development of smart card technology within local government since 2000.

BFC were originally chosen to lead the delivery of the National Smart Card Project. On completion of the National Project, BFC became custodians of the software (now known as SmartConnect) and have continued to develop and promote it ever since.

SmartConnect is an advanced transaction recording and management system originally designed by local authorities for local authorities in order to support smartcard deployments. SmartConnect can be used for access to a wide range of services including, but not limited to; library and leisure membership, access control, ENCTS transport, rewards and incentives, parking services, recycling activities, pre-paid debit, loyalty schemes, proof of age and cashless catering.

Research has shown that a properly designed and managed scheme can improve performance in addressing local priorities and objectives in a number of areas such as:

  • Social inclusion
  • Enabling Channel Shift
  • Better access to services
  • Supporting disadvantaged groups
  • Supporting young people
  • Influencing & rewarding behaviour
  • Encouraging better health and well-being
  • Supporting community economic regeneration
  • Sustainability
  • Building more cohesive communities
  • Digital transformation

The SmartConnect user community

SmartConnect software is used to enhance the delivery of services in a growing number of local authorities including Bracknell, Caerphilly, and the London Boroughs of Hillingdon, Richmond, Barking and Dagenham and Waltham Forest.

All SmartConnect users are members of the SmartConnect User Group which meets regularly to discuss scheme issues and ways in which the product can be further improved.

This collective approach upholds the key principle that SmartConnect should be ‘designed by local authorities for local authorities’.

The BFC e+ card is now used by over 80,000 resident and non-resident cardholders to gain access to a growing number of council services. Recent innovations include the very popular and successful Recycling Rewards scheme and the innovative Pre-Pay project which combines the functionality of the e+ citizen card with a bank payment card. More details on this soon.

The London Borough of Hillingdon have won a number of awards for their 'Hillingdon First' card scheme, which gives residents discounted parking and developing training for parking staff. These include the Local Government Chronicle (LGC) 2011 IT initiative of the year award. In 2010 they were also successful at the prestigious British Parking Awards 2010 where they were named Overall Winner after being recognised for their work in launching their SmartConnect-based scheme; as well as the overall prize they also received the Back Office Team of the Year and the Innovation Award, as reported by TransportXtra.

Using SmartConnect at other authorities

Bracknell Forest Council has signed a contract with SmartCitizen for the provision of hosting and maintenance services to SmartConnect site licence holders. This means that any local authority introducing a smartcard scheme can now benefit from the knowledge and experience of Bracknell Forest to acquire and implement the essential components of a scheme.

These include:

  • The SmartConnect Card Management system
  • A comprehensive scheme support package
  • Secure scheme hosting facilities
  • Card printing and encoding capability (including ITSO transport ticketing & sQuid e-purse)

Alternatively, any public body can also acquire the SmartConnect product via the new government Digital Marketplace.

The Frequently Asked Questions page provides more information on how to get started, the Bracknell procurement process, and how to find out more.