Gloucestershire County Council – Consultancy for Payment System Review Project


Gloucestershire County Council (GCC) is a county council, which administers strategic local government services in the county of Gloucestershire, in South West England. The Council’s principal functions are the provision of care (adults, children and families), communities and infrastructure (including roads, education, fire and rescue, public transport, libraries and trading standards) and public health. The Council’s net budget is £420m (projected 2016/2017). The Council employs around 3,100 staff and has its main offices at Shire Hall in Gloucester.

The Challenge

GCC had an existing system that allowed payments for Council services to be made by credit/debit card. This had been installed 10 years ago and was in need of updating and improvement to deliver a better customer and user experience while meeting stringent security standards. Counterpoint was retained to write a specification for a new system and provide cost/time estimates in support of an internal business case. The specification was to be used as the basis for an Invitation to Tender for the procurement of a new system.

Change Pressures

Since the system had been installed the landscape had changed; changes in regulation of card payment systems, security requirements, number of internal users, volume of transactions and opportunities for new more efficient software and software services.

How Counterpoint helped

Counterpoint worked together with GCC to understand the Council’s needs and how these might be met by the market. We carried out:

  • Stakeholder analysis including interviews with staff
  • Spend analysis
  • Cross functional workshops
  • Market engagement including supplier identification and

The focus of this work was to establish a baseline consisting of:

  • The current system – analysis of performance
  • User needs both now and in the future
  • Sizing, in terms of number of payment streams, number of users and number of transactions both now and in the future
  • Status of contract and payments with current supplier
  • Security requirements
  • ICT considerations, including internal vs. external hosting

What were the results?

Within 10 weeks Counterpoint delivered:

  • A specification ready for inclusion in an ITT
  • A very clear picture, of how the market could meet the council’s needs
  • The likely costs, man-hours and timescales needed to implement a new system
  • A list of opportunities to improve contract management and save money.
  • The knowledge to make a business case to cabinet
  • The confidence to go to market



‘We knew we needed to upgrade our card payment system to improve user experience and comply with new regulations, but lacked the time and skills to write a specification. Counterpoint worked with our staff in an inquisitive but sensitive manner, and was able to give us a clear understanding of our needs and how they could be met by the market.”


Jayne Fuller

Management Accounting Manager, Gloucestershire County Council