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GOV.UK seeks local authorities to test payment service


Pay becomes the latest Government as a Platform service from GDS to branch out to local government

Government Digital Service (GDS) is looking for councils to test out GOV.UK Pay, to allow organisations to provide an online payments and refunds service for citizens.

GOV.UK Pay is a cross-government service which was introduced to central government departments last year. It has processed almost half a million payments (479,000), with a total value of over 20 million pounds.

GDS is now “ready to start a limited pilot with local government service teams” it says, to “help us understand how the needs of local government organisations differ from those of central government”, it says in a blog post co-written by product managers Till Wirth and Rory Smith.

“Our product will help them take online card payments and issue refunds, ensure their payment experience meets the Digital Service Standard and use payment processes that are fully Payment Card Industry compliant.”

To get started, anyone with a local authority email address can set up their own free, unlimited test account and invite other members of their team to join independently of GDS. Participating councils do not need a contract with one of GDS’s payment service providers.

Details of setting up a test account and joining the pilot can be found on the GDS website. According to the Pay team, technical integration takes a couple of days. “Once you've finished a test integration we can easily and quickly switch over to your live service. Our test and live accounts are both run on the same infrastructure”, says the blog post.

Local authorities will be able to use their own custom branding for any payments page running on the service. 

They ask anyone interested in taking part in the pilot to contact them via email or, for local authorities that use it, through online sharing platform Slack. Potential participants can access a guide to getting started here

Pay, delivered via cloud computing is one of GDS’s flagship Government as a Platform projects, along with GOV.UK Verify for online identity assurance and GOV.UK Notify, which provides notifications to the public on service request progress. Both services have begun testing with local authorities. 

The average payment amount currently made through Pay is £45.00.

Image by Kuhnmi CC by 2.0 via flickr


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