Pensions process revolutionised at Leicester City Council

Leicester City Council’s (LCC) pay and benefits team has transformed the authority’s pension submissions by replacing manual processes with a cutting-edge automated system.

Pensions process revolutionised at Leicester City Council

Leicester City Council’s (LCC) pay and benefits team has transformed the authority’s pension submissions by replacing manual processes with a cutting-edge automated system.

With 12,500 employees who are eligible to join the pension scheme, the city council is a major Leicester employer, and processes thousands of pensions returns each month.

The authority wanted to save costs and embed a streamlined approach through digital transformation. It partnered with MHR Analytics in mid-2019 to implement the new Pensions Data Service (PDS).

“The implementation of our pension interface was ahead of schedule and we are already experiencing the efficiencies predicted, saving public money.” said Cory Laywood, Corporate Pay & Benefits Manager at LCC.

“On a day-to-day basis utilising the PDS could not be simpler as we have complete access to the MHR Analytics team who know exactly what the business requires, and also how to access it from the iTrent, HR and payroll management system,” he said. “They talk our language and when grey areas around specifications are identified, we can quickly agree the correct interpretation and ultimately get the job done.

“As a service manager it is hugely reassuring to know that in the event of an interface ‘falling over’ I can simply pick up the phone, or email our PDS contact, explain the situation and essentially forget about the issue. Safe in the knowledge that I have a dedicated resource at my disposal working on resolving the problem without it impacting on our core day-to-day business priorities.

“Prior to partnering with MHR Analytics, the areas we knew needed immediate attention were our Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) and our MCR – the teachers’ monthly contribution return. Other areas will need attention, but LGPS and MCR are both very specific interfaces that need to work seamlessly with third party providers, therefore the need to accurately adhere to a specification is paramount.

“To check we had this expertise we looked within our business to see what resources we had and what our teams’ current priorities were.

“We then looked at the efficiency savings MHR Analytics PDS could give us. It was clear that we could save at least 0.5 FTE by having a fully functioning interface and that the annual cost of the PDS would be recouped in approximately three months, once fully functioning.

“We established how quickly the PDS could implement this solution, and it was clear that this could be achieved within a three-month period, incorporating two full parallel runs.

“The decision to purchase the MHR Analytics PDS has not only saved us money, it has been a quick solution to implement with little impact on the business.

“Producing the MHR Analytics i-Connect interface and preparing for MCR has also resulted in our core data being cleansed so it efficiently drives the interfaces, something we never would have realised if we had decided to build this in-house.”

MHR Analytics partnered with i-Connect (part of Aquila Heywood), the pension fund data management provider, to launch the PDS and help simplify the LGPS submissions process, particularly for public sector pensions.

Now, with more than 100 customers on board, MHR Analytics’ hugely popular PDS is covering an employee base of more than 350,000.

The service simplifies monthly data submissions to pension schemes, relieves pressure on stretched resource, and reduces costs and inaccuracies. The PDS mitigates risk and fines that can result from single manual errors, and reduces the resource needed to process returns, improving efficiencies.

Customers include Cardiff Metropolitan University, Braintree District Council, Colchester Borough Council, Kier and Liberata on behalf of police forces and local authorities, in addition to education bodies, central government departments, housing associations and train operating companies.

MHR Analytics’ PDS supports Aviva, People’s Pension, Legal & General and RPMI, and organisations in Scotland like SPPA.

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