Golden Gates Housing Trust pilots RTI

The Golden Gates Housing Trust has had first-hand experience of submitting real time information (RTI) data to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), so it feels prepared for auto-enrolment and the pension reforms.

Working with its payroll provider, Software for People, the social housing provider completed the RTI process in April after volunteering to take part in HMRC’s pilot scheme involving 10 employers.

Sarah Moorcroft, finance and administration offi cer at Golden Gates, says the data cleanse and system updates required for RTI have made its payroll processes more efficient ahead of its staging date for auto-enrolment in 2013. “We did a full data cleanse as we were going through RTI and that is really good practice,” she says.

The trust has just over 300 employees, who are processed monthly under a single PAYE scheme. Staff are paid by the 15th of each month, half in arrears and half in advance.

Moorcroft says the organisation’s unusual way of paying staff was one reason why it was encouraged to take part in the HMRC pilot. It set up a working party involving payroll and IT to identify problems that might arise during the process.

Software for People liaised with HMRC’s software developer support team and RTI migration team to identify aspects of payroll that needed to be included.

In the run-up to going live, test files using live data were created, so HMRC could check how well Golden Gates’ data matched its national insurance (NI) and PAYE database. Test files allowed the organisation to check whether its software could cope with encrypted RTI values.

Moorcroft says: “The biggest challenge from the organisation’s point of view was making sure all the data was up to date and we had everybody’s information.”