Exploring income management and e-payment systems

Contents:

  1. Project outputs
  2. Project timeline
  3. Show and tell #1
  4. Show and tell #2
  5. Show and tell #3
  6. Feedback

Following on from the ‘GOV.UK Pay as a viable alternative e-payment provider’ project, this discovery explores income management and e-payment system landscape in local government.

Exploring income management and e-payment systems

The aim of this project is to understand how to help councils adopt existing cost-effective payment and management systems, to help to move away from legacy systems and suppliers.

Project outputs

All Local Digital Fund discovery projects were asked to provide the following information at completion:

  • User research report
  • Benefits case
  • Recommendations for next steps

Downloads

Project timeline

December 2018 - discovery

Previous GOV.UK Pay as a viable alternative e-payment provider discovery receives £52,103 from the Local Digital Fund.

April 2019 - discovery

GOV.UK Pay as a viable alternative e-payment provider discovery delivers project outputs which are published on the Local Digital website. Recommendation made for further discovery into income management and e-payment systems.

September 2019 - discovery

MHCLG awards £80,000 for discovery exploring income management and e-payment systems from the Local Digital Fund.

March 2020 - discovery

Project team delivers agreed outputs from income management and e-payment systems discovery, published openly on the Local Digital website.

April to May 2020 - alpha

  • The project receives £100,000 funding
  • Setting up the team and collecting resources
  • Undertaking procurement activities
  • Project inception meeting to identify project vision
  • Project week notes about their pre-sprint 1

June 2020 - alpha

Project agrees alpha vision and goals, activities and outputs.

The project also identifies which team members would contribute to which activity.

Project publishes weeknotes about their pre-sprint 2.

Sprint 1 week notes

  • understanding how the IMS fits into a wider ecosystems of processes and technology solutions
  • research plan to extend the things that the discovery found with specifics about how councils procure their IMS. 
  • explored the likely technical architecture, both in terms of the target infrastructure and the features that we expect to ‘bundle’ with the IMS.
  • Started to prototype new features of the system
  • Started to create council personas for future users
  • Define reference architecture and infrastructure

Hosts 1st show and tell

July 2020 - alpha

Hosts 2nd show and tell:

  • Continue to prototype new features of the system
  • Started to design a first iteration of the support model
  • Continue to define reference architecture and infrastructure

Hosts 3rd show and tell:

  • Continue to prototype new features of the system
  • Continue to design a first iteration of the support model
  • Started to define service governance
  • Continue to define reference architecture and infrastructure

August 2020 - alpha

Finish the 7 project epics:

  • prototype new features of the system
  • create council personas for future users
  • define reference architecture and infrastructure
  • design a first iteration of the support model
  • create a cost model
  • define service governance
  • map the landscape

IMS Alpha – Show & Tell 4 (finale)

 

Show and tell #1

Show and tell #2

Show and tell #3

Feedback

This project follows on from the GOV.UK Pay discovery project funded in Round 1, and carries forward some of the recommendations from that work. The team provided good explanations of what an Income Management System (IMS) is, mapped out processes of an IMS and gave an overview of how this project unfolded. We recommend that the final report is read alongside project blog posts and final show and tell.

The project team carried out market research to understand the existing supplier landscape and presented a set of approaches for opening up Barnsley’s IMS to other local authorities. The work highlights strengths and weaknesses of different approaches to procuring and delivering the service. The findings are likely to be helpful to councils considering alternatives to their existing service set ups and providers. This work should be carried over to alpha and inform how the IMS is iterated to meet other council needs.

The project used a ‘switching forces’ model to examine what impacts decision making when deciding on whether or not to switch to a new system. This provided a good lens for analysis and the project built up appreciation for what might be the barriers councils face when considering a new IMS.

The team undertook a number of different research methodologies, including desk research, workshops, interviews and online surveys. To conduct the research the project used a model that focussed on user needs (desirability), business goals (viability) and tech constraints (feasibility). This makes it easy to understand how the presented conclusions were reached and interpret research findings. To make the research methodology more reusable by other local authorities the project should consider providing more granular detail on how the research was arranged and carried out.

The team explored user needs and user requirements from 11 local authorities and a broad spectrum of users. The report shows a demonstrable understanding of required changes to the existing IMS in order to meet the council user needs. The team suggests that some user needs could be met by using GOV.UK Pay system. The team should continue engagement with their user base and the GOV.UK Pay team to ensure user needs are met through the functionality offered by Barnsley IMS or the GOV.UK Pay system.

The project produced a benefits case that focuses on the comparison between Barnsley IMS system versus a legacy system. The benefits case suggests that the majority of efficiencies will be made by bringing support in-house and by eliminating licence fees. The project should continue to develop their benefits case further and take into account more dependencies such as financial and information security risk, and governance and maintenance costs.