Martin Collier, Director of Corporate Systems and Services for ecdp, organisation run by disabled people, for disabled people, explains ecdp’s decision to outsource their payroll service and the benefits of doing this.

Combine efficient and effective payroll administration with sensitive customer service

The personalisation agenda aims to give disabled people choice and control over how their needs are met and they are each given personal budgets to control their support arrangements. Therefore, with the recent growth in the number of disabled people receiving personal budgets (and taking them as a Direct Payment), ecdp wanted to lead the way in combining efficient and effective payroll administration with sensitive customer service.

As a result of the personalisation agenda, ecdp process payroll for over 4,000 clients across the UK. ecdp recognised it did not, however, have enough back office processing capacity to handle the growing volume of clients.

Understanding of a unique sector

The problem faced by ecdp was that the Direct Payment market is completely unique. Payroll is traditionally one employer who pays many people. At ecdp, they have many employers (their clients) who all have to pay one or a handful of people. Effectively, the way theecdp payroll service works is the reverse of the usual practice.

ecdp wanted to work with a provider who understood the voluntary sector, and who were also market leaders in payroll services. They needed a provider who could not only support them, but also had the technical knowledge and experience to manage the required complexity of the type of payroll processing needed.

ecdp undertook an extensive research exercise to source a company to suit their needs. They found that FMP Global has a strong track record in the voluntary sector and were impressed by the willingness of FMP to work with ecdp in developing an understanding of ecdp and the challenges faced by their clients.

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HMRC-accredited Payrite software

FMP Global introduced their HMRC-accredited Payrite software to ecdp. This meant that they effectively became the organisation’s outsourced payroll department, eliminating the need for ecdp to carry out repetitive time consuming tasks in-house.

ecdp is user-led, which means that they are run by disabled people, for disabled people. Good customer service needs to understand the lived experience of the clients it supports and this has to be reflected in the back office systems. This is why ecdp chose FMP Global.

FMP were really up for the challenge and understood the need for flexibility and a creative approach. FMP and ecdp worked in unison to bring about a system which put disabled people (clients) at the heart of the solution.

As global specialists in payroll, FMP also understood the challenges ecdp faced when trying to grow their business. ecdp’s relationship with FMP is built on mutual respect and trust, and has enabled both organisations to benefit from this by reaching out to the wider business community at events and conferences.

As with all new developments there were teething problems, with payroll deadlines having to be rearranged and the delivery of payslips and supporting documentation now being produced offsite. These were, however, taken in their stride by clients and staff alike.

The benefits are clear

Since 2012, when ecdp and FMP began working together, the benefits have been clear. In batch processing, ecdp has reduced their use of internal resources and has found cost savings around inputting, reports, BACS, RTI returns and payments. As for any charitable organisation, it is essential to keep costs to a minimum, and ecdp has 3,000 payrolls to input. They didn’t want to input each report individually, and FMP has made a huge impact on reducing the inputting of data.

FMP onboarded 15,000 payrolls (2,000 PAYE), and the only time FMP could transfer data was at year end, so there was a tight window to work in. However, FMP migrated everything in just four weeks. The pay frequencies included were weekly, 2 weekly, 4 weekly and monthly, and there were some difficulties in extracting data from Sage and taking over to FMP. FMP supported the transportation of data to meet tight deadlines and ensure consistency.

Scalable solutions provided

FMP also supported ecdp to ensure all employees had the skills to work with the new system. ecdp staff had no Payrite knowledge to begin with, so using a completely new system required intensive training by FMP.

The solution is now being set up in a way that is scalable, when ecdp grows significantly within the market place. FMP have the software and expertise to scale seamlessly, and ecdp is excited about the future.

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