Auto enrolment without the tears

Established in 1970, Kiernan Construction is a family owned construction and civil engineering contractor, operating throughout the UK. Based out of Preston and with over 95 employees, the organisation has seen phenomenal success, and through controlled growth, the group now has an annual turnover of circa £20m.

Kiernan has undertaken major projects acting both as principal contractor and sub-contractor, by having knowledge and experience in every facet of modern day construction, they have gained numerous industry accreditations on the back of their commitment to quality, health and safety.

As a medium sized business, Kiernan Construction received their staging date from the regulator in early 2014. With a management team keen to start the auto enrolment process as quickly as possible, Taylor Patterson were drafted in to determine how ‘auto enrolment ready’ Kiernan Construction actually were .

Once the internal audit of the payroll systems and processes had been conducted, the experts at Taylor Patterson quickly identified some of the most appropriate pension solutions available in the construction industry. With so many to choose from, and with industry accounting rules quite intricate, it was vital the pension product chosen was specific to the construction industry.

Paul Catterall, director at Kiernan Construction, said: “After we had chosen the best pension provider from their report, Taylor Patterson arranged a meeting, at which our finance & IT personnel met with the preferred pension provider. The importance of accurate data-upload processes was stressed and Taylor Patterson put us in contact with another of their clients who used the same IT software as us. That enabled a constructive dialogue between the two IT departments and our external financial-software supplier. We also made use of on-line tutorials, from our software supplier, which helped familiarise our staff with the system and its requirements, ahead of going live.”

Nick Howarth, Taylor Patterson, said: “As part of our service to clients, we offer a comprehensive communications plan, ensuring employers use legally correct wording when corresponding with their employees. Our communications strategy for Kiernan Construction started in a timely manner, offering templates, a detailed communications process, supplemented with one to one advice clinics. In addition, our team provided information packs and templates for any new employees at Kiernan Construction, this way they can be sure to educate all new staff on the workplace pension options available to them.”

Paul added: “The team at Taylor Patterson were always on hand, any advice we wanted Paul Jackson and Nick Howarth delivered, they were excellent, they couldn’t have been more helpful. The team continued to add value by providing pension clinics for all staff giving our workforce the confidence they needed to make an informed decision on their future pension needs. I’m happy to report that over 98% of our staff enrolled themselves in the company pension scheme, putting them in a great financial position later in life.”

Paul and Nick worked closely with the team at Kiernan Construction to ensure the declaration of compliance was submitted – recent research suggests 19% of businesses * aren’t actually aware this needs to be filed as part of the process, however failure to comply can also lead to hefty fines. Paul said: “It helps to have a great partner working with you who really knows the ropes, make sure you choose your partner well. Taylor Patterson was the right partner for us. We had completed our homework, but there is still that concern in the back of your mind that last minute hiccups could cause problems. Taylor Patterson drew a very detailed timetable for us which meant that there were no last minute hiccups – it definitely was auto enrolment without tears.”