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.