Home  /  Roles recruiting  /  Payroll Manager

Head of Payroll & Pensions

£55,665 - £59,988 per annum

Reports to: Director of Finance

Directorate: Corporate Resources

Division: Finance

DBS required: Basic

Main purpose of the job

To lead and manage an efficient, effective and responsive payroll and pensions administration service; ensuring that salaries, wages, expenses and pensions are paid on time and accurately. Ensure that deductions from pay and pensions are made in accordance with appropriate legislation and remitted to relevant authority on time.

Maintain accurate payroll and pension records and account correctly for all transactions. Receive and provide pensions data from or to other pension scheme providers and scheme actuaries to ensure that pension continuity and accuracy is maintained. Deliver high standards of performance and customer care to reflect the importance of the payments made to staff and pensioners.

Ensure that changes to regulations are reflected in system updates to validate system integrity. Exercise controls to prevent losses of resources and data from fraud or error.

Management roles & expectations

As a Lewisham Service Manager you will:

  • Be responsible for professional advice and support in service area to deliver in partnership with others the councils vision, values and ways of working.

  • Take overall responsibility for the planning and management of services, ensuring community and customer needs are identified and met.

  • Ensure the delivery of identified service objectives and continuous improvement of service targets.

  • Achieve results through the effective management and development of people.

  • Ensure the effective deployment of financial resources and compliance with statutory professional and organisational frameworks.


Summary of responsibilities and personal duties

  • To lead, manage and develop the payroll and pensions administration teams to ensure efficient and effective performance, customer service and delivery, taking proactive and remedial action when necessary.

  • To be responsible for the operation, management and development of the payroll and pensions modules of the Council’s ERP system, ensuring a constant review of skills, new developments, upgrades and technology to facilitate the accurate and efficient payment of salaries wages and pensions.

  • To ensure managers, employees and outsourced service providers receive an effective and efficient payroll and pensions administration service. Take steps to minimise overpayments and exercise recovery action where unavoidable.

  • To be responsible for the implementation of systems of control over payments or amendments to system data to minimise losses from error or fraud and to be accountable for meeting all statutory or scheme deadlines, to avoid prosecution and fines, including on behalf of external clients.

  • To maintain currency in legislation and proposed changes, brief senior HR and Finance Officers, interpret and implement complex legislation for both payroll and pensions administration.

  • To manage partnership working with outsourced service providers and Schools who elect to purchase services; including writing, reviewing, pricing and monitoring the performance of service level agreements. Maintain full cost recovery charging for services.

  • Ensure that the service continuously reviews service delivery and effectiveness through feedback, data analysis, benchmarking and best practice. Ensure all work is carried out in compliance with the highly legislative framework and that there is technical capacity in the teams for all relevant professional areas.

  • Undertake statutory calculations and deductions/ payments for statutory maternity/ paternity calculations, statutory sick pay, annual and lifetime pensions allowances and other relevant calculations; advising employees or relevant personnel of any impacts or action to be taken.

  • To be the responsible lead officer and advisor on Income Tax for the Council and provide quarterly and annual pensions tax returns to HMRC; ensure key financial returns are completed within statutory deadlines to avoid the Council incurring penalties and fines.

  • Be an authorised signatory responsible for emergency, manual and electronic payments and payment files for the Councils bank in relation to payroll and pension payments.

  • Be responsible for advice under the Internal Disputes resolution procedure, deal with appeals to The Pensions Regulator / Local Government Ombudsman. Represent the Council at Employment Tribunal Hearings.

  • Be responsible for the timely production of information for inclusion in the audited pension fund accounts (administration) and year end reconciliations. Be accountable for validating and the provision of accurate personnel data to inform the triennial pension fund valuation.

  • Be responsible for maintaining and developing positive relationships between outsourced service providers, schools, other LA organisations and the Council, ensuring financial accountability and quality of service. Liaise with senior management of schools and outsourced service providers to agree Service Level Agreements and ensure a strong customer focus across the teams towards all internal and external customers.

  • Be responsible for advising the Council's Early Retirement Panel, advising the Executive Director on compensation issues to ensure consistency of approach, equality and financial control across the Council, keep financial control of decisions made.

  • Be accountable for taking decisions, or advising the Executive Director on discretions available within the pension regulations, according to delegated authorities.

  • Be responsible for managing own personal and professional development, ensuring that technical knowledge and skills required to meet the demands of the post are kept up to date. Promote best practice throughout the team through the provision of training and the establishment of internal and external networks.

  • Manage recruitment and staff development, ensuring staff have the appropriate training and professional and technical skills necessary to do the job.

  • To carry out the duties of the post with due regard to the Council’s relevant codes and procedures.

  • All employees are required to participate in the staff appraisals and to undertake appropriate training and development identified to enhance their work.

  • Undertake other duties, commensurate with the grade, as may reasonably be required.

  • Consideration will be given to restructuring the duties of this post for a disabled postholder


Internal Contacts: HR Business Partners, employing managers, and employees


External Contacts: HMRC, DWP, TPA, LPFA, COE Group, Local Government Employers organisations, Unions, Pension Fund scheme actuaries, other Local Authority Pension Administration services,



Person specification

Equal Opportunities

  • Awareness of and a commitment to Equality of Access and Opportunity in a diverse community

  • Understanding of how equality and diversity relates to this post

  • Ability to demonstrate commitment to the principles of equality in employment and service delivery.


  • Evidence of a strong intellectual grasp of local government policy especially in relation to statutory Payroll and Pensions Administration and accounting, including Teachers’ pensions

  • Extensive Knowledge of relevant Local Government Pensions’ Regulations

  • Knowledge of relevant Local Government Accounting regulations and codes of practice 

  • Detailed understanding of audit requirements and programmes

  • Understanding of implementing and operating electronic payroll and accounting systems

  • Demonstrates an understanding of current challenges and opportunities in local government

  • Substantial experience of working in a dynamic environment within a large public or private sector organisation.  


  • Significant experience in payroll and pension administration roles

  • Experience of managing a team of finance professionals

  • Evidence of having developed and delivered effective performance measures and performance improvement programme in the delivery of services

  • Maintaining electronic accounting and payroll/ pensions systems including the oversight of interfaces and system developments.


  • Numerical reasoning

  • Oral presentation

  • Able to prioritise, and provide clear guidance including the establishment and maintenance of a performance management culture



  • Able to understand, interpret and implement complex legislative requirements

  • Ability to develop and deliver presentation materials clearly and concisely to a range of audiences

  • Assertive and strong communication skills with excellent listening skills together with persuasive analytical skills

  • Ability to act and think strategically, translating this into deliverables.

  • Ability to reconcile corporate and strategic objectives

General Education

  • Educated to A level standard


Personal Qualities

  • Must be able to adapt to competing demands

  • Must be financially fluent, cost and contribution conscious with a focus on value for money

  • Energetic, determined, robust and resilient enough to cope with the demands of the role.

  • Able to establish positive working relationships with partners and colleagues across different disciplines.

  • High standards of integrity

  • Commitment to learn – desire to acquire new knowledge, skills and approaches.


  • Generally candidates must meet the standard Lewisham requirements for the post