I've read that recurring contributions are supported in core 4.7. I can't figure out how this is done, and book.civicrm.org is still at 4.6 (or have I missed something?). By recurring payments I mean, for example, monthly payments made from a contributor's bank. In the UK this is done by what is known as a 'standing order'. So, I don't mean recurring payments set up by a payment processor like Paypal. I can't find anything in the 4.7 UI that helps with these kind of recurring contributions.
I think you're asking a very UK-specific question about direct debit. UK has special rules for direct debit that CiviCRM doesn't know anything about. But the iATS Payments payment processor does support the required workflow and the civicrm extension for iATS Payments does have a dedicated payment processor for that purpose, so that might work for you.
There is some information about how to set it up on this page:
[2020-06-22 Update: the iATS payments extension has dropped it's UK-specific support code]