University of Lincoln invests in relationships with benefits providers


The University of Lincoln invests in building sustainable relationships with its benefits providers.

Ian Hodson, reward and benefits manager at the University of Lincoln, has initiated a conversation with the organisation’s childcare voucher provider, Computershare, about its future business strategy.

This is part of his efforts to understand the possible impact of any market repositioning by the provider on its relationship with it and how the two organisations might work together in the future.

This follows the government’s decision to introduce a new tax-free childcare voucher scheme, which will be run by a single administrator, NS&I, instead of existing providers, in autumn 2015.

Hodson says: “Providers will have to think about what they’re going to offer existing employer clients in order to retain those relationships.”

He is particularly mindful of the loss of national insurance (NI) savings resulting from the introduction of the new scheme. “We have always tried to reinvest the money that we saved in employer’s NI in things like our on-site nursery and family-friendly benefits, but those savings are going to be diminishing now,” he says. 

Providers that expand their service proposition to include an educational element will be particularly appealing to employers in the future, says Hodson.

“They will create a niche market of providers that can turn products into more of an educational tool,” he says. “Providers need to consider personal and professional development and bring in the educational side of things.”

But employers must consider providers’ corporate values as well as their service proposition as part of their due diligence process, says Hodson.

“We ask providers about what they would do to support our student experience and what their values are as a business,” he adds. “We try to test them out in terms of issues that are wider than their product and to look at them as a provider that we’d actually want to be doing work with.”