Mid Sussex District Council
‘Resilience and Reassurance’ – How Symatrix has taken the pain out of payroll for Mid Sussex District Council
Mid Sussex District Council (MSDC) is a medium sized Local Authority incorporating 54 elected councillors. The Council is responsible for the delivery of public services to the West Sussex towns of East Grinstead, Haywards Heath and Burgess Hill, as well as a several rural locations.
It is a key priority for the Council to ensure that its HR and Payroll system is resilient and robust. Along with the Councillors there are just over 300 employees, and previously there was only one person dedicated to running the payroll. The Council was keen to mitigate the inevitable risk generated whenever that staff member was absent and conscious of the need to implement a robust service, which removed the risk of the service being a single point of failure. The Council had already made the first step towards a modernised, Cloud-based solution by implementing XCD's single HCM and Payroll application. Symatrix was introduced as XCD's payroll outsourcing partner, who have applied their payroll expertise and market-leading processes to help the Council reduce risk and drive additional ROI from the application.
Tim Martland, HR Manager, Mid Sussex District Council, commented: “We were impressed with the work Symatrix did upfront before we took the decision to adopt their service, especially the Payroll process workshops they ran for us. These gave us further confidence that Symatrix had the skills and experience to deliver an exceptional payroll service.”
Having completed the transition to a fully managed payroll service from Symatrix, the Council is now reaping the rewards.
According to Martland: “Symatrix provided the reassurance, expert advice and consultancy needed to ensure that the whole transition happened seamlessly, and we were able to quickly resolve any technical issues that arose. Symatrix already knew the XCD system, so we were confident that we would receive an improved replacement for our original service. We now receive; more reports, more data and more comfort around accuracy and timeliness.”
Challenges and opportunities in times of crisis and beyond
The robustness of the new service was tested due to the coronavirus outbreak which led to Symatrix enacting its business continuity plan. This resulted in a team that were predominantly office-based having to cope with a new way of working. Symatrix successfully took the Council live on the service during Lockdown.
Martland said: “I no longer have the worry of people having to work from home when the payroll is running. The transition to Symatrix happened and everything just works seamlessly.”
Martland continued: “There has been a lot of patience on the Symatrix side. The human skills of patience and tolerance shown through a difficult time where the incumbent was not in the business during the transition period has been invaluable, as has the technical advice provided around areas such as one-off payments and redundancies. Symatrix has given us a lot of technical help during this period."
Scoping the benefits
As Martland explains: “Working with Symatrix means we get more reporting and data about how the Payroll service we deliver to council employees is performing and we feel more confident the work is being handled correctly. Thanks to Symatrix we believe we are running a more robust and resilient payroll service than before.”
“It is a very transparent process. Due to the fact we had only one person running payroll previously, it was very difficult as a manager to get information on what had happened in terms of the Payroll function. Today, we have greater visibility, and it is easier to make stronger links between HR and Payroll. Previously, there was a feeling that HR and Payroll were operating independently and not pulling together towards a common goal. Since starting to work with Symatrix, we definitely are.”
“With Symatrix’ help, we know upfront if errors are occurring and we can address and fix any issues quickly before they impact the business. Symatrix consistently tackles any problems proactively and resolves them in a timely fashion. We also value Symatrix’ technical expertise and the knowledge sharing around XCD and Payroll in general.”
Such is the efficiency delivered, the Council also estimates the new approach will provide cost savings over the mid to long term. The Council has been able to make immediate savings in removing the need for an internal Payroll officer and the associated support and management activities. Also key though, is the ability to identify and resolve queries and issues more quickly and easily, and the consequent savings in time, effort and ultimately cost that this brings. The confidence that Payroll is correct every month, for example, significantly reduces the number and details of checks required.
As the knowledge gleaned and partnership develops with Symatrix, the process becomes more embedded, the number of queries being raised is likely to reduce significantly – and Payroll will be even more seamlessly delivered.
“You feel like you have someone else in your corner, we have gone from nobody there at all to feeling like someone is there holding a gum shield ready to go in to action on your behalf. This is really important for us, particularly in relation to working with XCD's product team and driving positive changes into the application to deliver better business results for us,” added Martland. “Symatrix is a proactive supplier, they have delivered against everything they promised to us through the sales cycle, transition and into business as usual. Symatrix has shown us that they set about and resolve issues with gusto.”
“We have a strong partnership in place and are looking forward to building on it over time.”
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