Westminster Primary Care Trust launches online perks system

Westminster Primary Care Trust is believed to be the first to launch an online employee benefits system that includes total reward statements and salary sacrifice benefits within the NHS.

Karen Broughton, director of HR and corporate affairs at the public sector health provider, said the scheme, named It’s All About You, was introduced to help discourage staff from leaving to join other London healthcare providers by emphasising the value of the benefits package.

"We’ve got staff over 30 sites, and one of the things that became apparent to me was that when people talk about the NHS they forget, because of the range of benefits available, what’s available to them," explained Broughton.

She believes that the online employee benefits system, which has been implemented by Thomsons Online Benefits, is the first such online scheme to be launched within the NHS.

New benefits have been added to the package including total reward statements, a home computing scheme, bikes for work and childcare vouchers. The trust is also planning to introduce discounted financial products such as mortgage advice, and a paperless annual leave system. The tax-efficient benefits are available to all staff, despite the fact that nurses are subject to national pay awards.

The online system enables staff to see how much the trust invests in their training and development, and the value of add-ons such as their London pay weighting. It also holds information on core benefits such as leave entitlement and the pension scheme.

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The online benefits system could lead to the introduction of flexible benefits at the trust in due course. Broughton added: "I looked at what the private sector was doing and looked at flex schemes and, while it is too soon for us [to do that] right away, it’s certainly our intention within the next year or so."

The trust expects to recoup its investment through employer NI and tax savings, which it plans to reinvest into benefits.