Weymouth & Portland and West Dorset councils – a shared service

20 August 2015

Working closely with Capita to implement a shared service payments solution

The neighbouring local authorities of Weymouth & Portland Borough Council and West Dorset District Council can now offer their citizens a range of convenient and highly secure payment options.

“The shared service option made for markedly reduced costs, both as regards procurement and also in the on-going management and maintenance overhead.”
Christian Evans, financial performance manager at Weymouth & Portland Borough Council and West Dorset District councils.

Sharing the load

In January 2015, Weymouth & Portland Borough and West Dorset District councils awarded the contract for the delivery of a shared service payment solution to Capita.

Before awarding the contract, the councils conducted a detailed evaluation of the market and found that Capita stood out in certain key areas. Most notably, these included their proven track record around card security measures, their experience in delivering similar shared services and their innovation as regards bringing new payment channels to market.

Neither council was a current user of Capita payment software, with Weymouth & Portland using an alternative supplier’s solution and West Dorset having an inhouse solution.

Christian Evans, financial performance manager at Weymouth & Portland Borough Council and West Dorset District Council, had a key role in the selection of the new system and outlined some of the major drivers behind the project, commenting, ”We wanted to replace our existing systems with a shared service that could support a range of convenient payment channels and incorporated the ultimate in card security safeguards.”

Capita was also able to provide a proven, fully-managed, cloud-based solution, which would markedly reduce the requirement for on-site hardware and infrastructure, and the associated systems management overhead. Their case was made all the stronger at pre-sales stage, where Capita provided detailed on-site presentations and were able to identify the potential for other benefits over and above those initially outlined by the council.

As well as providing a solution that outshone other competing proposals, Capita’s offering was competitively priced, with costs being both transparent and fixed, and with on-going savings on card transaction rates.

Find out more about Capita's payment solutions

A good job shared is a good job halved

“The shared service option made for markedly reduced costs, both as regards procurement and also in the on-going management and maintenance overhead,” continues Christian.

The councils had a tight deadline for implementation and had stipulated that the system must be up and running and taking payments by mid-April 2015. Capita was able to produce an implementation plan that guaranteed they would deliver this. From the outset, Capita staff delivered regular on-site consultancy in order to ensure that the systems were configured in line with requirements and wouldn’t cause timely and costly delays. This consultancy was backed up by weekly project meetings working to PRINCE2 standards. When looking at the wider capabilities of Capita’s offering, Christian adds,

“We were particularly impressed by the Income Management component of the system, which will ease the reconciliation of income process and can be easily configured by our own staff where additional reporting is required over and above that that comes as standard.”

The benefits are clear to see

Christian comments on the benefits of Capita’s shared service payments solution that the councils are now experiencing:

“Capita’s long-standing track record around payment services delivered in the cloud, was a key factor in the selection process, so with the service being cloud-based, we have the reassurance that no card details are stored within our own infrastructure, which markedly reduces our own scope around PCI standards.

“The single licence and on-going maintenance charge together with the reduced hardware and IT support requirement will deliver significant savings when compared with the alternative of each council purchasing a dedicated solution.”

Concluding, Christian adds,

“Capita’s solutions allows us to provide a truly joint service, whereby a member of staff in any location can take a payment from a customer of either council. With staff using the same software at both councils, they will be able to identify and share best practice and ways of working, and work together on suggesting any product enhancements.”

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