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Scotland to set up payments service for public sector

Scottish government seeks supplier to work on beta phase of development

The Scottish government is planning a new payments service with potential for use across the the public sector.

In a public information notice for the project, the government said the platform will be “user-centred, organisationally agnostic, secure, scalable and built using flexible, component-based technology”.

Potential bidders were invited for a supplier day on 24 March 2020 at Edinburgh’s CivTech, where the main aims and objectives of the beta phase will be presented, as well as design, development and strategic details.

The Scottish government said it believes that using multiple ways of taking payments across the public sector leads to “duplication of effort and spend, and, by default, a confused landscape for both citizens and government”.

The project is part of the country’s payment transformation agenda, which, the government said, aims to “design and deliver a continually improving, shared payments service that has the potential to evolve over the longer term”.

The new platform will “process outbound payments and provide a trustable transactional history that interfaces with public sector organisations’ financial services”, it added.

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The notice said the platform will consider inbound payments in the longer term, but not in the next development phase. The Scottish government is not using Gov.UK Pay, the existing payment platform developed by the UK Government Digital Service (GDS), which launched in 2015, because it only carries out inbound payments.

Last year, Scotland reported progress in the development of its payments plan, and said it was working with GDS to evaluate Gov.UK Pay and other systems for the inbound element of the platform.

Work on a single payments system in Scotland began in 2018 as part of a public service reform aimed at better equipping the country “to deal with changing circumstances”.

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