By Daniel Hunter

New research from the Solihull-based Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals (CIPP) and Workplace Giving UK has revealed notable differences between the perception and reality of implementing payroll giving schemes. This research was undertaken to inform the government’s consultation process on modernising the payroll giving system.

The survey results demonstrated a marked discrepancy in the perceptions of the respondents who do not currently offer a payroll giving scheme compared to those that do. For instance, of those respondents who do not operate a payroll giving scheme, the main barriers cited were (more than one option could be chosen):

- 71% were unsure of the administration process
- 71% believed their employees were unlikely to engage with the scheme
- 57% highlighted the cost of running the scheme

However, the reality uncovered by the survey results showed a very different scenario. The findings revealed that the majority of respondents think payroll giving schemes are easy to implement and administer. Of those that currently operate a payroll giving scheme:

- 69% either strongly agreed, or agreed that setting up a payroll giving scheme is simple
- 96% of respondents said they find the administration for payroll giving easy
- Nearly 76% of respondents stated they strongly agreed, or agreed that operating payroll giving is low cost

Following this research, the CIPP submitted its consultation response to the government on its recommendations on making payroll giving more accessible to employers, which includes its suggestions on how to update the payroll giving system.

“Our findings indicated that nearly a third (31%) of survey respondents think that payroll giving is not currently part of their organisation’s culture," Karen Thomson FCIPP MSc, Associate Director of Policy, Research, and Strategic Visibility at the CIPP, commented.

"Furthermore, half (48%) of respondents do not believe payroll giving aids the recruitment and retention of employees. We want to help dispel the perception around the challenges of payroll giving and change the mind-set that schemes are difficult to set up and maintain.

“The research shows that there is a significant increase in the number of respondents who currently operate a payroll giving scheme this year (83%) compared to in 2011 (73%) when the Chartered Institute ran similar research; which is very positive and encouraging. However, there is still a lot of work to be done to raise the awareness of the simplicity of the administration process around payroll giving.

“Having said that, a number of key recommendations have emerged from our survey results. Firstly, there is strong evidence from our research that standardising the administration processes between the employer and the Payroll Giving Agency would greatly improve payroll giving schemes. Secondly, the CIPP supports the concept of a centralised system, which will allow employees to join and choose their charities online with a standard instruction provided to the employer.

“Thirdly, the CIPP and Workplace Giving UK urges the government to consider National Insurance contribution relief on all payroll giving donations. Whilst the research shows employers would be incentivised if employee relief were offered it would be much simpler for payroll systems and understanding if the relief was offered to both the employer and employee.

“Finally, charitable giving is a personal choice and the CIPP believes one size does not fit all. But by permitting donors to select their preferred method of donating and making it easier by offering a centralised online solution, this will go a long way to increase the already generous British public.”

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