How TCS’ IT Services and BPO Helped Create the UK’s Universal Workplace Pension Scheme
A Buyer Case Study by IDC
This Buyer Case Study by IDC describes how TCS helped set up the administration services for NEST, the UK’s new low-cost national workplace pension scheme, in time for employers to start to automatically enroll workers from October 2012.
The Customer: NEST Corporation is an organization that came into being in July 2010 under the terms of the UK Pensions Act 2008 and is the successor to the Personal Accounts Delivery Authority (PADA), which laid much of the groundwork for NEST. It is a trust-based pension scheme designed to be an easy-to-use, low-cost pension scheme that employers can offer to their qualifying UK-based workers to meet their automatic enrolment duties. The scheme is the first of its kind in the UK and aims to ensure that millions of people who currently don't have access to a workplace pension will be better able to save for their retirement.
NEST was created to provide low-cost access to a workplace pension scheme for millions of people, many of them lower paid, who are largely new to pensions and saving in the UK and who currently don't have access to a workplace pension scheme.
The UK government faces a major economic and financial challenge: The UK has both an ageing population, eroding the future tax base, and a workforce living longer but making too little or, in many cases, no provision at all for retirement. A key conclusion from a major British government inquiry into the UK pensions system in 2005 was that workers had to be encouraged to save more money for their retirement. Automatic enrolment into a workplace pension with an employer contribution was chosen as the most effective method to achieve this aim. Since many of the workers that qualify for automatic enrolment are in lower-paying jobs, and many employers are smaller organizations with limited time and money to spend on administering a workplace pension scheme, NEST had to be low cost and easy to use.
One of the first moves was to create tightly integrated project teams, with TCS and NEST staff working together in TCS’ facilities in both Peterborough, the English city where TCS had an established pension processing operation, Diligenta, and India, where much of the technology development and testing was to happen.
Project teams drew up an extensive testing program, which included an unusual element: NEST decided to test TCS’ application and processes with real money, rather than just simulating business flows, so the authority took real cash and flowed it through the financial services system to test the actual management of pension contributions and assets by TCS — the exception being that no actual pension investments were made with the money.
NEST went live with volunteer employers in July 2011, almost 15 months before the official deadline for starting full-scale operations in October 2012. By October 2012, NEST had over 150 employers actively using the scheme.
NEST describes the platform as “highly stable.” A measure of this is that since July 2011, a major release of the core functionality and several minor releases have been delivered successfully while the day-to-day business of servicing employers and members has continued without interruption.