UK LETS and Complementary Currencies
Development Agency


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Software for LETS - updated March 2015
Some groups are using commercially available e-lists or have adapted html websites, etc. However these tend to be a compromise, and will require in-house expertise, and fail when the person doing it moves on. In 2008 we surveyed dedicated software for running LETS. Our quest was to find software that organisers will be able to use independently, by logging on, enabling them to run their groups in a familiar way, but improving the extent to which tasks can be shared out. Based on these criteria, we homed in on "Local Exchange" enhanced it considerably for use in the UK, and this is still the best option we can offer groups at the present time,

The software creates an attractive, user-friendly, customisable website, which can be added as a private "members' area" to an existing "brochure" site. The public can view notices on parts of the site plus Offers & Wants, but no member-details are visible. People cannot sign themselves up to the site, so the organisers will still be able to exercise the usual cautions when enrolling new members. Adjacent to the software we therefore provide an enquiry and/or application form which delivers an email message to one or more of the organisers.

New members receive a random password, which they can change on the profile page, where they can also edit their own personal information. They can view, sort, and select by location from the list of members -NB street addresses are not visible. Members can also create, edit and delete their Offers and Wants listings, and turn off their listings if they are going away. They can view their own and any other members' balance and exchange history, record exchanges, view their own and other members' feedback, make payments to other members' accounts, and give feedback after a trade. They can also view the trading history of whole scheme, including payments from the system account.

Core-group members have access to another set of functions, enabling them to create and edit accounts on behalf of other members. They can view a list of members not yet logged on, so they can be aware and make arrangements for any members who need support to start trading or manage their account. They can also create and edit news items and upload and delete newsletters. So a range of technical and pastoral functions can be shared amongst committee members and the tasks of enrolling and supporting members can be devolved to local representatives.

Another set of functions apply at the administrative level, including making transactions on behalf of members, reversing any errors, taking monthly fees, activating or inactivating accounts, creating or deleting listing categories, and exporting data for back-up purposes. Email enquiries are received from the enquiry box and messages can be sent to all members. These functions may be carried out by a single co-ordinator, or will more usually be shared between an "administrator" and a "chairperson".

Links to groups already using the software are now being logged on www.localexchange.org.uk - in most cases you need to click to members area to view the interactive site. To view this page online, and access the links, go to: http://letslinkuk.net/practice/software.htm • Enquiries about the software should be made not via the local websites but directly to: admin@letslinkuk.net

© Published by LETSlink UK, 12 Southcote Road, Tufnell Park, London N19 5BJ