‘UNIQUE’ software designed in-house by Barnsley Council has been recommended to be rolled out across the country by a government-backed report.

Local authorities use income management systems (IMS) to organise the vast array of payments they receive from businesses, partners and citizens which can take various forms, physical and digital, and are paid for different reasons - including blue badges, parking fines and residential fees.

Barnsley Council had, like many local authorities, been in a long-term contract with a software supplier to manage its income.

But when the contract ended last year, the council’s IT and finance departments took the plunge to ‘build over buy’ - developing a bespoke system from scratch.

And the system, which saves the council £50,000 a year on software costs alone, could soon be rolled out to local authorities across the country.

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A four-month study, backed by the Department of Housing, Communities and Local Government and led by several local authorities, recommends that local authorities use Barnsley Council’s in-house software - which it states has ‘broken the mould’ - as a model for their own IMS.

Coun Alan Gardiner, cabinet spokesperson for place, said: “Barnsley Council’s IMS is a unique product developed in-house that helps us to process all of the income we receive.

“It’s been created by our IT and finance departments, whose hard work has helped to make sure income can be processed quickly, accurately and with little involvement from the team. IMS is an easy to use, modern system that keeps robust audit trails and is already helping us to save time and money.

“We’re incredibly proud of the system and hope it can go on to help other councils as it has at Barnsley.”