Case Study

Payroll and Pension Implementation


Payroll and Pension Implementation

After 12 years with the same payroll provider, the school felt that they weren’t receiving an accurate or supportive service anymore

What was the situation?

Leventhorpe School is an over-subscribed secondary school and employs approximately 180 teachers and support staff. Situated in eastern Hertfordshire, the academy has been using the same payroll bureau for 13 years and therefore the prospect of moving to a new provider required a leap of faith. The finance team had been noticing some performance issues with their current provider and wished to engage a partner who could reliably deliver a high-quality, yet cost-effective payroll service from April 2020. The Director of Finance also required more in-depth reporting and analysis than they were receiving.

The Director of Finance invited three education payroll companies into the school, along with the legacy provider, to discuss the merits of their payroll service and to undertake a best value review.

The finance department found the Strictly Education presentation offered a sound understanding of education and its nuances within the terms and conditions of payroll and teachers’ and local government pensions. Our payroll portal also offered the team secure access to their payroll data and by having a named payroll officer, a way to keep up with the complex needs of the education sector

Upon comparing the companies, the Finance Director also felt that our unique set of monthly payroll analyses would provide a key source of important data and strategic insight.

The school made its decision just before Christmas and informed the legacy provider that they would be leaving on March 31st, 2020. However, in January, the legacy provider gave the school two choices; to leave on January 31st or remain under contract until the end of August

The Director of Finance rang Strictly Education to see how we could help.

How did Strictly Education support the school?

We asked the school to provide our implementation team with their most up to date year to-end data from their legacy provider. To mitigate any risk around the short timescale and data accuracy, and working in partnership with the school, our team went through each line of information. All the while we checked, rechecked and tested the data to ensure the information was clean and correct.

The day before the pay date, it became apparent that the teachers’ pay was incorrect and the school provided us with new pay scales, which were uploaded with relative ease.

Meanwhile, the school informed their staff that they were moving payroll provider in February; staff would receive electronic payslips for the first time and were requested, by the Headteacher, to check their salary payments for any discrepancies. Electronic payslips were in line with the schools desire to reduce paper and environmental policy.

What was the outcome?

Strictly Education paid the school’s 181 members of staff correctly and on time. For Strictly Education, this was a case of following our well established onboarding process with our focus on ensuring day-one accuracy: efficient processing and management of payroll work with RTI compliance; providing in-depth payroll reports provided through our secure portal; providing full, free portal training and delivering a timely and accurate payroll services.

In summary

In making their decision to leave their previous payroll provider, the Leventhorpe School entrusted Strictly Education to compress two months’ work into one. As the school wished to move in February, the fiscal year was close to ending, meaning there was a large amount of historical data to enter into the system.

By working in partnership with the school, Strictly Education ensured that data used on the first and subsequent pay runs have been accurate, and all staff were paid correctly and on time.

Since moving away from implementation, the school have been delighted with the payroll service they have been receiving from their nominated payroll officer. They have also requested that our pension team take further administrative burdens away from the school and enabling them to focus on improving pupil outcomes. Our monthly client satisfaction survey, captures ongoing data about the accuracy of our payroll and customer service (99.6% accuracy levels, 93% of our clients score our service as excellent/good.  Plus 100% of our pensions teams calls and 92% of our payroll calls are answered in 3 rings.

How did Strictly Education add value to, support and enable proceedings?

  • The implementation team was able to confidently advise the Director of Finance on the solution, options and the risks of moving a payroll, in such a short space of time
  • The implementation team prepared and corrected all the necessary data for the changeover, whilst double-checking with the school.
  • The team also provided technical advice at the most critical stage of the partnership, with their up to date understanding of the sector’s complexities and rules.
  • The team built the school’s individual payroll parameters within our system in accordance with the local information provided.
  • The team also made sure that the school’s HR and finance team portal training needs were determined and met, before handing over the payroll to the school’s appointed payroll officer and manager.
  • The team liaised with the school HR consultant to align HR, payroll and pensions service to ensure a smooth transition
  • The HR consultant was able to support the headteacher to embed effective leave of absence practice across their school, which also enables effective school improvement.

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