We made our bid to the fund back in August. We described that the income management function within council’s seems unnecessarily burdened by legacy software products and there was a change that our in-house developed system could make a difference to that, as it already has done in Barnsley. We proposed to spend some money investigating the claim that by allowing other council’s to use our system they too could save time and money - and that those savings scaled nationally could add up significantly for the public sector.
The money is effectively awarded to us then, on a speculate to accumulate basis - spending £80K now could lead to savings of hundreds of thousands of pounds from the public purse overall. So, over the coming weeks and months we’ll be running a Discovery project that will look to answer the following research questions:
- is there a market for an alternative Income Management system to the legacy products that are already out there
- what are the user needs for a good Income Management system amongst local authorities?
- does our income management system meets the needs of other council’s or have we built it too specific for Barnsley - what do others need that we haven’t thought about?
- can changes can be made to our income management system where gaps are identified in it meeting the user needs of other councils - what might those changes be?
- can our income management system integrate successfully with GOV.UK Pay to offer a more holistic solution for accepting income and then processing it
- if our income management system can be shared within the public sector, what is the best way to ensure a cost-effective, well-supported solution for council’s?
Barnsley will lead a collaboration of 6 council’s (Barnsley, Sheffield, Allerdale, Cherwell, South Northamptonshire, North East Lincolnshire and Huntingdonshire) and the GOV.UK Pay Product Team.
Our first step will be to recruit a delivery manager who is familiar with running Discovery projects within the scope of the conditions set out by the fund. They’ll produce all the necessary documentation and coordinate research workshops with key stakeholders in our partner organisations. I expect it’ll take us up to 6 weeks to organise that.
Our deadline for completing this project and reporting back to MHCLG who administer the fund is January 31st 2020.