HM Treasury: Financial systems specification
The SDS project team had been formed to investigate possibilities for rationalising three HMT systems used for collecting processing and reporting financial information from public sector organisations. These systems were operated by 3 different HMT teams, and were as follows:
- General Expenditure Monitoring System (GEMS)- Spreadsheets that collected high level outturn and forecast figures for the current financial year and was managed and consolidated by the Public Sector Finances (PSF) team;
- Public Expenditure Statistics (PES) – a bespoke system that held more detailed expenditure plan and outturn data covering three forward years, the current year and five prior years and was operated by the General Expenditure Statistics (GES) Team;
- Government Online Data (GOLD) – a consolidation package that held audited outturn data for both income and expenditure accounts and balance sheets for as many years as required and is operated by the Whole of Government Accounts (WGA) team.
Insight MSC was appointed to:
- Analyse the data content and structures, functionality and processes of the three existing systems. To produce a description of the data and processes and develop a catalogue of the outputs that would be required from an integrated system.
- Understand the non-functional requirements, including the constraints and requirements of government departments that supply data to HMT and to include requirements arising from government technical strategy.
- Determine a robust and transparent approach for identifying data and data structures that are shared between the three legacy systems and those that are unique to a particular system.
- Define requirements for cutover and migration of data from the three existing systems.
- Use the information gained above to prepare a SOR for an integrated system that will enable evaluation of potential packaged solutions against the requirement.
- Work very closely with the SDS Technical Manager, involving her in all key aspects of the work to ensure skills and knowledge transfer.
Insight MSC worked with the Treasury team to review the current systems and processes and evaluate the feasibility of the Single Data System. The solution included:
- Development of a data analysis program to analyse PES data to look for common data relationships in order to produce a simpler data model
- A data model incorporating the needs of all three systems based around two main dimensions – Programme Object and Account.
- A data model for one system and data structure, distinct data types, ‘double entry’ logic, transaction audit trail, clear cut-off.
- Documentation of the whole system requirement in a ‘statement of requirements’ suitable for the evaluation of candidate package systems.
- Highlighting changes required by departments to preserve the integrity of the data model.
- Presented final design to the Government Accountancy Service (GAS) conference in 2004 in conjunction with the HMT Project Manager.
- Provided the data migration tool ‘AIM’ to assist the SDS / COINS implementation team to migrate data from the old PES database to the COINS system.