Transforming payments processing for the Court Funds Office

An insight into how NS&I Government Payment Services (NS&I GPS) transformed the payment processes for the Court Funds Office.

Having worked on the Court Funds Office (CFO) account at NS&I GPS for the past 3 years, I’m responsible for managing the client relationship with the Office of the Accountant General (OAG), who has overall responsibility for the CFO, and for ensuring the service we provide is delivered to the highest possible standards. After 3 years, I’m still amazed at the intricacies and the vast, interesting and important history of this account. I can honestly say that every day is different, as we continuously work towards providing a seamless customer experience and digital solution for CFO.

Digital transformation at the Court Funds Office

The Court Funds Office was established in 1726, when the post of Accountant General of the Court of Chancery was first instituted. Since then it has been renamed on several occasions and responsibility has passed from HM Treasury to the Accountant General of the Senior Courts as part of the Ministry of Justice.

The CFO provides a banking and administration service for clients whose money is held under the control of the civil courts of England and Wales. Funds held by the CFO currently total over £2.8billion1 held on behalf of around 184,000 accounts1. As might be expected given the CFO’s remit, focus and user-base, it deals with many types of customers, including young children who have been awarded damages in civil actions and Court of Protection clients.

With the range of customer groups the CFO provides services for, the importance of providing a seamless customer experience and delivering systems and processes which are genuinely customer-centric, becomes very clear. Before transition to NS&I GPS, the CFO’s processes were very manual and paper-based with an aging IT system, which was reaching a point when it would require modernising.

Since the beginning of our initial conversations with the OAG, we have worked very closely with them to clarify their needs and identify the best way forward, to ensure a smooth transition and an improved service delivery for the CFO. We worked with them to develop their solution – working towards providing transparency and value at every stage, implementing changes in real-time and ensuring sign-off and turnaround are delivered within demanding SLA targets.

The Model Office approach

During the planning stages we created a working prototype of the CFO operations to reflect the real environment as closely as possible, using our renowned ‘Model Office’ methodology. This enabled us to run business simulations to replicate actual tasks and demonstrate the improved processes to the OAG in real-time.

The transfer of service from CFO into NS&I GPS was successfully carried out according to the project plan in December 2011 and during the countdown to launch, our carefully managed implementation project plan provided solid processes and governance.

Our Model Office is a framework for collaborative working and it consists of four key phases:

  1. Understanding the requirements
  2. Evolving the solution
  3. Testing and preparing for go-live
  4. On-going support

With the user experience at the heart of the process, our Customer Experience (CX) Lab ensured that the solution we developed was exceeding expectations.

Our six steps to compelling customer experience are:

  1. Citizen understanding
  2. Citizen experience measurement
  3. Citizen-centered design
  4. Citizen-centered delivery
  5. Engagement and human performance
  6. Managing the ecosystem

The robust and proven CX methodology helped us map user journeys while thinking about the process, tools, emotions and expectations of users across all touch points. This enabled us to carefully consider things from an individual user perspective. The migration from old CFO systems to the new NS&I GPS systems was a success and led to increased control and automation, reduced errors and improved business reporting. We made efficiency savings by making changes to working processes and practices. Training and communication has resulted in working practices which are consistent and auditable.

The results included improvement in the quality of services for our customers, for example, against a target of 97% CFO achieved results of 99.3% for timeliness of payment processing2. The commercial benefits included 40% cost reduction, while delivering a step change in the reliability of operations, making the operation more efficient, and importantly, increasing digitisation.

When it comes to on-going support, it’s imperative to have a dedicated Account Management team, to ensure communication between all parties and stakeholders flows openly, with particular focus on continuous improvement, auditing, reporting, insight-generating, and pointers for training and development.

Driving change through digital transformation

Our experience with the CFO means that we are ideally placed to offer similar solutions to other government departments with comparable challenges. As John Little, the Deputy Accountant General says in our case study on the CFO:

“Any government department who is looking for a payment services provider should take the time to consider what NS&I Government Payment Services has to offer. They are serious contenders.”

Download our Court Funds Office case study to learn more.

Court Funds Office case study

NS&I GPS transform public sector payment systems by leveraging our modern banking engine. We are part of government, with an experienced team and proven solutions that power our success.

To learn more about how NS&I GPS can support government departments with digital transformation, please get in touch with the NS&I GPS team by email or call 020 7932 6856.

1 As of December 2019

2 Operational delivery report December 2019


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