GOV.UK Pay as a viable alternative e-payment provider

Full Application: Funded

LAs should use GDS GaaP products; GOV.UK Pay has processed >£93m, yet LA adoption is slow to adopt with concerns about if GOV.UK Pay can be their sole e-payment system.

The GOV.UK Pay contract model is financially beneficial for LAs but their feeling is that challenges & integration costs with legacy finance systems are key adoption barriers. Currently integration is done by each LA, we’d like to explore how LAs & Pay can make integration easier & reusable together.

New Blue Badge service uses GOV.UK Pay; 100+ LAs will need to get Pay reporting into their systems so this is relevant & timely.

6 councils & Pay will collaborate to understand:

  • benefits & savings of adopting GOV.UK Pay
  • obstacles to adoption & how we might overcome them
  • current & planned GOV.UK Pay features, how they may help LAs
  • unmet needs around online payments or unusual LA payment models & appropriate changes to GOV.UK Pay that would help LAs
  • obstacles to adoption and onboarding
  • collective key LAs e-payment & income product features
  • user need & user stories in income management reconciliation
  • changes to processes, thinking or models in reconciliation, eg how much of this is need v habitual
  • changes by established system vendors & their interest in supporting the LDD #fixtheplumbing aiming to drive the potential cost efficiencies of adopting GOV.UK Pay pan government as our primary income collection facility

We polled Localgov Slack to gauge key system providers & identified collaborators with those key systems.


The discovery will be delivered using in-house councils’ & GDS resources.

Each contributor will dedicate resource to the project team. North East Lincolnshire Council will lead on the project & assume ultimate responsibility to ensure that the project is sufficiently staffed. If successful, GDS will make this part of one of their missions in Q4 18/19; having started to roll out Pay to LAs and invested time in procuring a central payment service provider, GDS and LAs can now work together to roll this out more widely.

Our proposal is for a 12 week delivery plan with regular stakeholder Google Hangout or similar.

We will have SMART objectives & goals for each of the project weeks that align to the project success criteria to measure if the objectives have been met. Our draft plan provides assurance around how the work, training & publishable outputs will be delivered & published by 31 March 2019.

The collaborators will collectively deliver the work in collaboration with GDS and with consultation with vendors that indicate they wish to take part.

Additionally  we’d like to allocate  a GDS service designer to provide  robust challenge around needs vs habits in particular around income management/reconciliation.

And we’d like to engage with key existing finance system providers to gauge their interest in using a scales for common pattern and making changes to their systems to support this in keeping with the LDD commitment to #fixtheplumbing.

Week 11 and Week 12 are dedicated to the findings report and outputs.

The lead authority will in collaboration aggregate all findings & collaboratively develop the business case for change & service pattern for delivery.  As lead we will be responsible for publication following collaboration & consultation with all contributors.

The current cost of the problem

Economies of scale for all 400+ council’s at a nominal £10,000 p.a. saving each for an e-payment provider mean that annual savings could run to over £4m.

There are 207 LAs who administer Blue Badges, 1 million badges per year, only 12% offer online, where offered, 69% pay online. This indicates that there is great potential for shift and savings for LAs.

Income generation and reconciliation done badly costs in time and resources across  all services.

Project proposal

Explore a range of popular LA e-payment and income systems, user needs v user stories and to collaboratively explore the viability for a common service pattern for all income reconciliation systems across all LA’s.

Benefits for the sector

    • Adoption of a common platform for all of government
    • Work can be reused by all local authorities
    • Potential for lower transaction costs due to economies of scales across the public sector
    • Potential savings for LA’s moving from commercial established e-payment providers to the free to use GOV.UK Pay platform
  • Potential savings as LA’s to reduce time spent or stop doing some tasks all together
  • Potential savings as we can encourage channel shift from expensive payment methods like cash/cheque for ad hoc payments through payment links or better online payment platforms that people prefer to use
  • Opportunity to shape Pay’s roadmap as part of their continued improvements

Benefits for customers

  • Consistent experience for customers making government payments
  • GOV.UK Pay is fully accessible and extensively user-tested
  • GOV.UK is continually adding functionality based on user testing, so customers will get a better experience (e.g. Apple pay).

Benefits for system providers

  • Opportunity to help #fixtheplumbing by adapting their products to make use of a common service pattern for income management/reconciliation
  • Ensuring their product remains relevant for LA customers

We will collaborate with councils & GOV.UK Pay in accordance with the LDD. Using Slack and other digital accessible tools to enable full collaborations across all partners.

We will collaborate on a regional basis through our existing networks & benchmarking  arrangements and with support of GDS regional engagement teams.  We will share user research & test our thinking in discovery to ensure this meets the needs of the many.

We established key existing finance system providers using Slack, and we will ensure we speak to councils that use these different systems to help create a wide understanding around needs, functionality & gaps.

We are working with a range of different councils including:

  • Unitaries
  • Metropolitan boroughs
  • Cities
  • Counties
  • Districts

A common business case and service pattern could potentially help reduce costs for all UK councils and support customer satisfaction as consistency will exist across the UK.

Output Action
Business case We will gather the information from partner councils and supplier organisations to be able to make a like for like comparison of the old and new offering and prove a value for money case. For this project we assigned a full time economist to carry out information gathering and analysis throughout the project, which will ensure timely delivery of this output.
User research report We will publish all outputs on an agreed platform throughout our rounds of user research, and will produce a final summary report in a format ready to be published on The user research team will make use of existing templates to present user research findings in a consistent way after every round of user research. A final user research report will also be produced.
A summary report & recommendations We will produce a report that either proposes how to take this project forward to alpha stage or explains why the work should not continue. We have the last week of March reserved for this work to ensure that the deadline is met.
Redesigned service map We will create an analysis of our current (‘as is’) process for issuing assistive technologies to our service users and start an improved process map (‘to be’) that shows an improved process based on research done with our users. The new process map will later on be used as a basis to redesign our service offer and produce a working prototype in Beta, if successful.
Alpha EOI Draft EOI for an alpha for the next round of LD funding (our our rationale and research around not proceeding to alpha)


User Profiles

  • council finance teams
  • Customer services and support services that use and promote LA payment solutions
  • Frontline and business support teams
  • council payment system ICT specialists
  • ICT system administrators
  • customers for any journeys that don’t fit existing GDS / GOV.UK Pay research


Our project will begin with baseline research comprising a literature review and synthesis of findings from our own data and that of our project partners.

An agreed template of user research will be used and collected by the lead LA for analysis and feedback following relevant sprints.

User research objectives

  • to fully understand user journeys (from different user perspectives)
  • to fully understand reconciliation needs
  • to challenge habitual behaviour
  • understand any pain points
  • to understand vendor willingness around product change
  • explore & identify opportunities for improvement
  • understand what good looks like and service metrics

Access to a  GDS service designer to

  • provide robust challenge to established habits around reconciliation/income management to ensure we focus on user needs
  • help with revisioning products, services & processes

GDS or MHCLG and collaborators to explore hosting a vendor event which would support research findings should an EOI to Alpha be a possibility.

We think there is a need for national collaboration in the future to hold large system providers to account & that this is something the Local Digital Collaboration Unit & the MHCLG as a whole may be able to give focus & support – but this is not needed for our proposed discovery.

Successful regional frameworks such as mail provision, have seen contracts with Whistl as opposed to Royal mail with aggregated financial advantage across all participating local authorities with great savings and benefits as with the potential for GOV.UK Pay

None for any partners