11 Mar 2015 12:00 AM

Your people are your charity’s life force. It is also an area where mistakes can be particularly costly so it is worth taking time to consider how recent changes to employment regulations may affect your charity.

Most specifically you may want to make sure you are totally prepared for Auto-enrolment.

Why should you be thinking about Auto-enrolment?

It is only two years since the first workers were auto-enrolled into a workplace pension but since then around 28,000 businesses have auto-enrolled more than 4.5m workers.

It is widely acknowledged this is only the start; at the moment only ‘medium-sized' employers (those with between 50 and 249 workers) are required to comply but from 1 April 2015 'small and micro-sized' employers - those with fewer than 50 workers and the group that will contain the majority of charities - will be required to auto-enrol their eligible workers.

Once in place this will bring about a whole new set of challenges for the charity sector.The Pensions Regulator has already been quoted as saying it expects to see a marked increase in non-compliance.

How can you avoid non-compliance?

As a charity you need to make sure you comply with the legal requirement to auto-enrol your eligible workers by the agreed staging date.

While that will be a significant task but here are 3 tips to help you stay on the right side of the rules and the Regulator:

1. Start preparing now

Start your preparation at least a year in advance of your staging date.  If everything is in place your scheme will go live without any last-minute rushes or hiccoughs (making it more likely you will avoid the investigation or even fines linked to non-compliance)

2. Make sure your pension provider is in place

Having an experienced (and we mean pension and charity experience) in place will massively reduce the likelihood of you encountering problems or breaching the rules as the staging date approaches.  Having an adviser that can cover pensions, investment advice, HR and payroll will make integration even easier

But act quick, both pensions experts and the financial press have already warned there could be a ‘capacity crunch’ that could force suppliers into having to hold their hands up and admit over-capacity before you get the chance to approach never mind appoint them.

3. Know your responsibilities

Just like every other type of employer, irrespective of the scheme you choose and the adviser you appoint, you need to know all of your obligations as an employer.

We appreciate this may be new to you and that none of this is straightforward so if you have concerns about your charity’s auto-enrolment, we are here to help.

Alliotts not only have the necessary accounting knowledge, we also have a long and successful record of working with charities ranging from local concerns to national names and have in-house experts in pensions, HR and payroll who are experienced in advising the charity sector.

If you have any questions regarding any aspect of auto-enrolment please email me at stephen.meredith@alliotts.com or call me on +44 (0) 1483 533119 or +44 (0) 20 7240 9971 to discuss your situation in complete confidence.