Archive: Dec 2014

  1. ’11 step pain relief plan’ for your auto enrolment administrative headache

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    The time involved, not to mention the cost of auto enrolment is a prospect you and many other small businesses have not been looking forward to and in some cases been causing sleepless nights. You may have been putting off doing anything about it but the staging dates for completion are now fast approaching for employers with 50 or less employees.

    The need for employers to meet their new duties in the months ahead is likely to lead to a corresponding increase in enforcement action and penalties (currently The Pensions Regulator has issued 177 compliance notices and one unpaid contributions notice, as well as three fixed penalty notices).

    Are you aware of how automatic enrolment will impact you and your employees? Do you know when your actual staging date is?

    We don’t want this to happen to you so have devised an ‘11 step pain relief plan’ to help you get ready on time and avoid errors such as these:

    • Registering with the Government Gateway and assuming that this is adequate – employers on or before their staging date must then also make a ‘declaration of compliance’ to the TPR.
    • Omitting employees in a second, smaller PAYE scheme (eg, a directors’ scheme) – the larger scheme determines the single staging date for the employer, so all employees in all schemes must be enrolled by that date.
    • Omitting self-employed workers who provide personal service without being in business on their own account – they are ‘workers’ in AE terms and must be enrolled like employees.
    • Completing a declaration of compliance without nominating a pension provider – some employers incorrectly assume their payroll software handles the necessary submissions automatically, but they also need to set up a scheme.

    Key dates to be aware of:

    Number on payroll (at 1 April 2012) & staging date

    50 – 61: 1 August 2014 – 1 April 2015

    40 – 49: 1 August 2015

    30 – 39: 1 October 2015

    Under 30: 1 June 2015 – 1 April 2017


    How much will the plan cost?

    Our part within the process is to simply help you get through the administrative tasks involved in getting ready for auto enrolment. We are a totally independent organisation, making us unbiased and able to provide you with details of a range of pension schemes providers.

    The fees below are one off charges for consultation and administrative support only:

    30-50 employees = £500+VAT

    1-29 employees = £250+VAT
    Don’t put it off any longer. Call us on 01392 432654 and let us help.


  2. Does recruitment need a strategy?

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    Blog by Kevin McNeil, Associate Director

    The recruitment of staff can be as daunting for the recruiter as it is for the applicant. The process can be costly, time consuming and involves the risk of getting it wrong. However a delayed recruitment can be equally as damaging, particularly in a growing business. If you follow a structured approach it doesn’t have to be as painful as you might fear!

    1. To recruit or not to recruit?

    Before starting on the process consider whether there are any alternatives. You might be able re-allocate the work to other employees or you may have an internal applicant who would fit the role. In the current work market there are alternatives to recruitment such as agency staff or outsourcing which can, in appropriate circumstances, offer more flexibility to the employer.

    1. What do you actually need?

    Consider what the role entails and what the successful applicant will look like in terms of experience and qualifications. Do you want someone who will grow into the role? Will you offer training? Do you want someone who is ambitious or settled? Is the role full-time or part-time, temporary or permanent? Think about what makes you an attractive employer that will appeal to potential applicants. Involve other staff who may be able to make a contribution to the process. Once you have clarified your thoughts write a succinct job description to include; background on the company, an overview of the position, the main responsibilities of the role, relationships both internal and external, technical and personal requirements for the successful applicant. You will obviously also need a clear idea on the pay range and benefits you will offer but you may not want to disclose these at this stage.

    1. How do I decide on the right person?

    After advertising the role you will hopefully have a pile of CVs on your desk to consider. If you have a lot to read through I usually scan through them first to take out those who are clearly not appropriate for the position, unfortunately there may be a number. What I like to then do is to create a table for the remainder and score them on the basis of attributes identified in the job specification. You might like to check their on-line presence, Linked-in can be good, Facebook can by scary! Inevitably it is not an exact science but the aim is to arrive at a number of candidates that you would like to call to interview. Personally I think that around five to six is sufficient. Some people like to have telephone interviews or arrange on-line tests, e.g. technical or psychometric, at this stage but I still prefer the old fashioned face to face interview. How to conduct interviews is a whole topic on its own but at the end of the day you want to find someone who you feel will be a good fit for the role and your organisation. It’s useful to have at least one other person at the interview as they may spot something different in the interviewee, either positive or negative. If you haven’t interviewed before don’t be afraid to ask a colleague, business acquaintance or even a consultant to join you at the interview. A second interview is also a good idea as it is surprising sometimes how much people can change from one day to another and you could invite along some potential colleagues to also have their input. For more senior roles a second interview can be an opportunity for the applicants to give a presentation on a relevant topic. This can often be a game changer in the process.

    1. Make decision and offer the position

    At the end of this process hopefully you have at least one candidate that you feel confident enough to offer the position to. None of us can get recruitment right every time but if you follow a structured approach it doesn’t have to be as daunting as it may at first appear.