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Scottish Government to develop payments platform prototype


Mark Say Managing Editor

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The Scottish Government is exploring the development of a digital payments platform for the public sector.

It has outlined plans to design and deliver a prototype to test its feasibility and examine the options for scaling up a service.

This has come with a market call for a partner to work with its digital team on a three to four month project. It would follow up on existing work to understand the landscape for such platforms and test a number of assumptions around the technology.

The team has acknowledged the availability of GOV.UK Pay, developed by the Government Digital Service (GDS), as free-to-use payments platform for the public sector, but said it wants to extend the capability to cover inbound and outbound payments.

The move provides second case of the Scottish Government working on an alternative to a digital platform made available by GDS: it is running an online identity assurance project that would provide a similar service, but through a different approach as GOV.UK Verify. This is about to enter its alpha phase.

According to the relevant procurement notice, there is already a small team in place for the Scottish payments system, with skills including business analysis, user research and technical architecture. It is already working with two suppliers who are providing strategic input on commercial models and collecting insights from other governments and public authorities.

Commodity preference

The technical requirement for any system would be that it is based on loosely coupled, component based technology and existing commodity services. This could involve a role for GOV.UK Pay.

It will also have to conform to the Scottish Government’s Digital First Service Standards or GOV.UK’s Digital Service Standard.

Any service could be used by up to 140 Scottish public sector agencies, with the total volume of payments expected to rise to over 10 million per year.

Image by Howard Lake, CC BY 2.0 through flickr


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