Making our first payments using the Payments Service
Blog by Alasdair Murray, Business Analyst, Cloud And Digital Services Division.
On Wednesday 8th December, the SG Payments Service, which is operated by the Scottish Government’s, Digital Directorate, successfully processed its first payroll run for Independent Living Fund Scotland (ILF Scotland). While it’s a cause for celebration, we know that it’s only the tip of the iceberg of things to do in order to become a fully-fledged operational service.
Who we are
We’re creating a Payments Service that reduces duplication, inefficiency and inconsistency in payment processes across the public sector, and aligns with the Scottish Government’s Digital Strategy. If you want more background about who we are and what we do, there’s an excellent blog post that you can read.
As part of our beta phase, we set out to incrementally design our service. Instead of a straight-to-live operational service, we processed a single payment run while the service is still in beta to give:
• our partner a chance to input into the design of the Payments Service
• ourselves a chance to iterate and make improvements
Now that we have been successful, we’re reflecting on what went well, how far there still is to go, and how to make sure we continue to co-design with our users.
Who are ILF Scotland?
ILF Scotland operates as a discretionary fund providing financial awards to over 5,000 disabled people in Scotland and Northern Ireland. Their funding enables individuals to pay for support in their homes and within their local communities.
As a team, we couldn’t have asked for a better partner in ILF Scotland. From the beginning, ILF Scotland has been engaging and enthusiastic and they readily give their time and input.
When asked about their experience working with us, Nadeem Hanif, Head of Finance for ILF Scotland, said:
”To be able to directly influence the platform and ensure our views and opinions were heard was important for us, especially as we are a relatively small public body. ILF Scotland and all the stakeholders have worked well together and it’s testament to the fact that we were the first body to make live payments using this new payments platform, a monumental achievement and one we are incredibly proud of.”
Soon after we made our first successful payment, we initiated a lessons-learned session with ILF Scotland. We invited them to give feedback based on their experience of making their first payment.
From this session, our team gained hugely useful insight to inform what we would need to do next. We were able to categorise these insights into five broad themes:
Communication: make sure the right stakeholders are involved at the right time
Decision making: define what go/no go and governance processes look like, and employ them to instil confidence in the service
Testing: ensure there is plenty of time to test and learn, and give time for a partner to familiarise themselves with the service
Design: design intuitively and clearly, and explain Digital First Service Standards and how they’re used to partners
Momentum: defining what happens next and having a robust, clear plan
We got a lot of insight from the session and now we’re taking the time to make sure we absorb these lessons and synthesise them into meaningful next steps.
We’re drawing up a road map of upgrades and improvements as we move towards launch. We’ll also be looking for more partners for our service.
If your organisation is looking for ways you can improve how you pay your customers, help us to co-design the best Payments Service possible.
You can reach us at: SGPaymentService@gov.scot.