A new service which aims to reduce duplication and inefficiency in benefits payments processes across the public sector has successfully issued its first payroll.

The system, operated by the Scottish Government’s digital services division, processed the payroll on behalf of Independent Living Fund (ILF) – a body that helps disabled people to live independently.

The Digital Directorate, which provides centralised IT services for government, said that while the development is “a cause for celebration” – it is only the “tip of the iceberg of things to do” before becoming a fully-fledged operational system.

The service is currently in its beta phase – meaning the software development team is still identifying and ironing out teething issues before launching.

In a new blog post, Alasdair Murray, business analyst, Cloud And Digital Services Division, said that processing the single payment during this period presented an opportunity to make improvements to the service based on ILF’s feedback and experience.

He said: “As a team, we couldn’t have asked for a better partner in ILF. From the beginning, ILF has been engaging and enthusiastic and they readily give their time and input.

“Soon after we made our first successful payment, we initiated a lessons-learned session with ILF. 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.”

The themes are:

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

Murray added: “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.”

Nadeem Hanif, head of finance for ILF, 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 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.”

The Digital Directorate is now drawing up a road map of upgrades and improvements as it moves towards launch.

The team is also looking to partner with more organisations, who are keen to improve how they pay their customers, in order to “co-design the best Payments Service possible.”

For more information contact SGPaymentService@gov.scot