North Yorkshire County Council relaunches voluntary benefits

Last December, North Yorkshire County Council relaunched its Everybody Benefits salary sacrifice-based platform, introducing a range of voluntary benefits.

The platform offers lifestyle discounts, childcare vouchers, a bikes-for-work scheme, eco-friendly cars and now includes home technology, such as tablets, laptops and smart TVs.

North Yorkshire County Council

The benefits, accessed through a bespoke portal, come from a range of providers, including Computershare Voucher Services for the childcare vouchers, Cyclescheme for the bikes-for-work scheme, Tusker for the car scheme and Xexec for the lifestyle benefits.

Most of the benefits are available to all the council’s 19,000 staff, although the car and home technology schemes are restricted to non-teaching staff, says Sarah France-Gorton, principal adviser, resourcing and reward, at the council.

The benefits are also available for other public sector organisations to access via a framework agreement, avoiding the need for procurement exercises and increasing savings.

The council made an effort to generate, and sustain, employee interest pre- and post-launch and to align the new perks within its existing offering.

The existing platform was already popular with staff, but France-Gorton says it was still important to proactively promote the new-look package.

“All the benefits were re-procured, so we aimed to make the transition to the new providers as seamless as possible by communicating to staff through intranet news articles, weekly employee key messages, targeted emails to staff and holding employee benefits fairs where staff could come along, meet the providers and find out more,” she says.

“We already offered a number of discounts for goods and services from local suppliers and retailers; these were given higher prominence on the new platform.”

The result has been increased staff engagement with the benefits and a boost in take-up.

“Since the relaunch, the number of employees enrolled in childcare vouchers and green cars has been maintained,” says France-Gorton. “There are over 600 employees registered for childcare vouchers and 265 currently have a green car. We are now approaching our 500th new car delivery.”

The home technology scheme has generated “an overwhelming response”, says France-Gorton, with 200 orders for computers, laptops and tablets taken during the first order window in May.

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“We have continued to see interest in the Everybody Benefits platform and all other salary sacrifice schemes, and staff have fed back that they value the opportunity to have access to the schemes and discounts on the platform,” she adds.

“We recommend consulting with staff at the outset to ensure the schemes will meet their expectations. In addition, regular communications are vital to raise awareness of the benefits, and ensure the scheme is integrated into the organisation.”