UK’s Pensions and Welfare Division Looks into DLT to Accelerate Payments

The UK’s pensions and welfare division of the government, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), says it is exploring distributed ledger technology to keep up with the changing face of payments.

In a blog post published on August 9, Richard Laycock, deputy director at the DWP’s Digital Delivery Shared Platforms, said that enhancements are arranged over the DWP payments systems to guarantee its 20 million clients “receive their payments on time.”

“As we move our Payment Services forward they need to be efficient, modern, fast, scalable, flexible, innovative and available 24/7,” Laycock wrote.

For the upgraded framework, the DWP is exploring different tech patterns, including the increasing adoption of distributed ledger technology (DLT).

According to Laycock, “We are starting to see the first full production [DLT] implementations, such as Santander’s One Pay FX. The benefits include reducing time, cost and failure rate associated with making transactions whilst data is stored on a secure immutable ledger.”

The department is also to redo its payments design – to present “the biggest set of changes to the way UK payment schemes process payments in years.” With a rollout arranged to begin in 2021, the DWP will present a common payment message standard and solidify existing plans. New “overlay” administrations will also be included, including “request to pay” and “confirmation of payee.”

Open banking – the use of open APIs to permit third-party engineers to develop apps and administrations around a banking institution – also provides a way to enhance aspects of the DWP’s payment services.

Laycock stated:

“I’m keen for us to consider how we can harness the payment innovations coming out of these trends and how we can influence the New Payment Architecture to help shape future of payments across government.”