Singapore’s state courts handles more than S$70 mn worth of transactions each year. Users make payments in various forms, so the courts decided to innovate and streamline their payments process.

The team built an e-payments system that allowed people to make payments digitally – on computers or smartphones – or at kiosks placed islandwide. They understood that there was “a real need to… enhance court users’ experience and optimise resources”, the team wrote.

“Despite the solution being a new way of dealing with automating payment services, with accompanying policy risks, we mitigated these issues through careful implementation and working closely with internal and external stakeholders”, they explained.

GovInsider awarded the state courts for the risk that they took, how they pulled it off, and for bucking the trend that governments need to stick to the status quo.

The team has since freed up the jobs of cashiers, and deployed instead collection kiosks that were complimented as “more advanced than those used by the banks”, it explained. Automating the payments function allowed civil servants to focus on more value added and strategic finance roles, the team added.

Since then, other agencies have taken interest in the payments platform. “We have received
requests from MOF [Ministry of Finance], AGD [Accountant General’s Department], HDB [Housing and Development Board], LTA [Land Transport Authority] and hospitals, expressing their interest to learn from [the] State Courts on how it works.

Innovation Labs World is a festival of public service innovation organised by GovInsider. It was held on 27 September in Singapore.