Auto-enrolment – matching payrolls to pensions.


The big payroll/pension issue

There are, according to one payroll software development we have spoken to, 42 separate interfaces between payroll and HR and the various workplace pension providers.

Not all payrolls are prepared to build processes to accommodate each provider. Many providers will need to be accessed via middleware hubs. Middleware adds complexity and has potential security issues, it also tends to be more expensive than a pure payroll solution.

So far in the auto-enrolment staging progression, larger companies have been prepared to pay for middleware or even to recode payroll to meet the demands of providers and regulators. But this is no longer the case and as companies get smaller, we see an urgent need to rationalise the payroll interfaces

The long-term solution

Ideally this would mean a common data standard for all providers meaning that only one process would need to be followed. BIB are building such a standard- PAPDIS- in time we hope it will be adopted by most providers which will lead to pension providers being chosen for the quality of the member services (pension, at retirement and communications), rather than their usability at the corporate level.

The short-term problem

But the completion and adoption of PAPDIS is some way off, in the meantime we need a system that allows those analysing the choice of workplace pension provider to see the compatibility of their payroll and HR systems with the providers.

Why pension playpen wants your help

Pension PlayPen is a database that records details such as the software payroll uses and matches it to the usability of the pension. One payroll software system may work well with one master trust but poorly with another. We collect information about the various alliances in the market and are now seeking the views of each of the payroll software providers and bureaux as to the comparability of your payroll to each provider we list.

This information will help employers to match their payroll to their pension, reducing their work and improving the provider’s lives too!

What we want you to do

We want you to put a score against each provider as to the experience you have using each provider. This information will be fed into our database and used to rate the interface of each provider.

We do not want to overcomplicate this by breaking the rating down into many sub-headings but simply want your “overall experience” score. Systems like ours must make approximations in the interests of our clients but we think that it is better that scoring is as a result of user experience rather than purely through the opinion of consultants.

Inevitably, where you have no experience with a provider, you should leave the score blank. In such case the “house view” of First Actuarial will replace yours.

How we will display this data

If an employer using our Choose a Pension service indicates they use your payroll, our system will be alerted and the scores for each provider will be adjusted to reflect your perception of the provider’s usability.

Otherwise, we will determine the score for each provider as a composite of all scores given the provider from all participating payrolls.

The system will be overseen by First Actuarial who will ensure that the database is kept up to date with relevant information.

We hope that in time providers will level-up to excellence (hopefully by using the common data standard. But clearly there will be some who adopt the standard in full and some who continue to lag.

What’s in it for payroll?

By completing and returning the survey, you earn your payroll software or bureau a place on the drop down menu that employers interrogate. Being there says something about your commitment to auto-enrolment, a very practical form of advertising.

We do not ask for any money for inclusion on the menu, your completing the survey is enough for us!”

If you’d like to advertise on Pension PlayPen we would be happy to feature you on our site but this is secondary to your inclusion on the dropdown!

What you should do now.

If you have staged auto-enrolment and are an employer of if you are a payroll softward provider. we want to know your experience.

By completing this survey, you are giving us valuable data which will be used to help  employers using to get more accurate help in purchasing their pension.

You can of course remain anonymous but we do need to know the payroll software you are using.

Please press the link here- it will take you to our survey software and allow you to mail your views directly to us.

About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen,, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
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