Joanne O'Hara CIPP

Joanne O’Hara has achieved her CIPP Foundation degree in Payroll Management

Joanne started the course in autumn 2017. Initially the modules were delivered in central London, but all tuition went online after March 2020.

“Undertaking a diploma course while working full-time was always going to be a challenge,” said Joanne. “Managing our highly complex payroll during coronavirus made last year far more testing than I could have imagined. But I was pleased to be able to apply much of my learning in practice.”

VGC’s payroll is run by a team of four, who ensure that everyone in VGC’s 1,200-strong workforce is paid correctly each week. 2020 was one of the most demanding years ever. The team had to interpret and put into operation the new furlough legislation in very short timescales, and deliver remotely for a period.

“It was a really tough course, and I was enormously relieved when I handed in my final project. However, I’m so glad I’ve done it. I definitely feel I’ve learned a lot. It helped me to develop and made me more confident in what I do.

“Thank you so much to VGC for funding the course, and to my colleagues for their support.”

Chief operating officer Ciara Pryce said: “Our payroll is one of the most business-critical services we operate. I really appreciate the work Joanne and the team do each week, and especially during the last year. Joanne was a worthy winner of our special 2020 ‘go beyond’ award.”

What’s next for VGC’s payroll?

Following her return from maternity leave, our weekly payroll will run under Elaine Ryan’s management. Joanne is being seconded to work on a business-critical IT upgrade project.

We are developing new software across VGC this year, with a multi-disciplinary project team including commercial and finance staff to ensure it works to the best advantage. Joanne will lead the payroll element. Her learning and expertise will help to make our new pay and bill systems as efficient and effective as possible, both for VGC staff and our clients. This will ensure that are back office systems are positioned for the forecast increase in output requirements over the next few years.

About the CIPP qualification

The Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals course is administered by the University of Worcester.

The challenging CIPP course which Joanne undertook involved 15 modules, with a mix of exams and assignments, including an in-depth project on improving employee motivation.

Other assignments included

  • Understanding customers and clients
  • Personal effectiveness and professional development
  • Improving services and operations.

All areas of VGC’s payroll process were covered by the syllabus. We are implementing Joanne’s learnings to keep improving the way we operate.

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