NHS Finance

11.05.20

Payroll: It’s back office, not back of mind

Steve Whiting who leads the Health Sector at Cantium Business Solutions discusses the challenges faced around payroll in the healthcare sector and how outsourcing a payroll provider is the answer.

To the casual eye, the fundamentals of payroll management are general – tracking hours, calculating pay and depositing employee salaries on time. But the truth is, it’s not so straightforward and easy going as it appears, particularly in the healthcare sector; a sector which comes with a unique set of characteristics and challenges that only payroll specialists can properly address.

Both private and public healthcare professionals know just how difficult it can be to run a large-scale payroll system and being personally responsible for the distribution of millions of pounds worth of public money.  It’s depositing the salaries of domestic, portering, maintenance, clerical, nursing and medical staff, senior managers, chief executives and apprentices. All the while abiding by the hundreds of payroll regulations - according to the Charted Institute of Payroll Professionals (CIPP), there are at least 174 pieces of legislation affecting payroll in the UK.

But the healthcare industry is one of serious staff shortages and high turnover rates due to high stress levels, as several reports have shown. This means that there’s always a large proportion of new and undertrained staff, inadequate for such a demanding position and the duties cannot be carried out efficiently. And lest we forget about the financial strains. When it comes down to funding resources, offices are often somewhat forgotten about and the systems that are currently in place are outdated and no longer suitable for the volume of workload.

The industry is continuously scrambling to save cash in as many areas as possible – back office being one. In 2017, the NHS Improvement suggested that NHS Trusts should look into outsourcing services such as finance and HR as over £400m could be saved in the next three years. So that’s what Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust (KCHFT) have done, one of the largest NHS community health providers in England.

Steve Whiting 

Steve Whiting, who leads the Health Sector at Cantium Business Solutions discusses the challenges faced around payroll in the healthcare sector and how outsourcing a payroll provider is the answer.
 

In 2018, KCHFT approached Cantium to outsource their payroll and pension services to all employees but they had a list of key requirements that had to be included: A target contract cost saving of 25% per annum, an improved SLA performance and a partnership approach with the view of building a long-term relationship.

Now working closely with KCHFT, Cantium manages payroll and pension solutions for the Trusts 5000+ staff on the monthly payroll and over 2,600 on the weekly bank payroll. Since outsourcing their payroll system with Cantium, KCHFT have reaped a range of benefits, highlighting just how effective outsourcing payroll can be:

  • A 27% per annum cost saving
  • The support of a dedicated Account Manager providing regular reviews, a comprehensive KPI pack and continuous service improvement
  • Additional contracts and services are now provided to KCHFT, enabling them to manage multiple contracts through a single, expert service provider as well as achieve commercial benefits
  • SLA attainment including significant improvements in the following key areas: 99.7% YTD Cantium payroll accuracy, reduction in overpayments, 87% YTD Emails resolved within SLA

Managing payroll on such a large scale requires specialist skills and sufficient resources. It was ultimately down to Cantium’s proven track record of expertise in providing payroll services to public and private healthcare provider that led to us being approached by KCHFT. The fact that Cantium’s payroll team are CIPP PAS accredited, produce 75,000 payslips a month and are experienced in the mandated NHS payroll system, ESR, helped KCHFT meet their targets and perform better as an organisation overall.

Payroll is not an area of business to be overlooked – it's back office, not back of mind.

For more information, Cantium Solution can be reached either via email info@cantium.solutions or visit their website at www.cantium.solutions/service/hr-for-health/

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