Harper Morris Payroll

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Harper Morris Payroll's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Harper Morris Payroll is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles


Highlighting best practice
Highlighting best practice
Managing Director
Led by Managing Director Richard Barnes, Harper Morris is
a customer-focused payroll company. Since Richard joined
in 2007, the company has grown significantly, delivering
over 100,000 payslips and other services each month to turn
over more than £1 million. Richard explains to
that this success has been made possible by investment in
staff and software while also cultivating a diverse base of clients.
Working in the payroll business since 1990, I have not only built a wealth of
relevant experience, but I have also observed significant change over the years. In
1990, the industry was dominated by payroll delivered in house, or by large bureau
companies or accountants processing the payroll as an add-on to their other
services. It’s easy to forget that this was before the internet, requiring the use of
fax machines and involving a huge amount of postal traffic, sending out payslips,
reports and other documents.
Over the last 15 years or so, the industry has progressed to delivering most services
online. Harper Morris was in fact ahead of the game, as we developed an online
payroll system, released in 2000. The quality and reliability of internet connections
at the time, however, meant companies were not ready for this innovation, and it
was not until more recently, when online services began gaining traction, that our
system came into its own. HM still uses the platform, a testament to its original
design, with all systems delivered online as standard.
Payroll is driven by government initiatives, with new pension auto-enrolment – or
AE – legislation introduced in 2013, for example. As such, all companies are now
obliged to set up a pension system for their employees.
We anticipated the demand for AE’s services via payroll, making a significant
investment in our software in the run-up to AE launching. This early involvement
in pensions gave the company an advantage, and I am proud to say that the AE
product was available in time for the launch. It is now an integral and core part of
the service.
It has been quite onerous for smaller and medium-sized companies to comply with
this legislation, and as a result, we have seen a growth in our business as we have
taken on this responsibility for them.
Developing our software
Our payroll software, TalentPay, has been a core part of the company’s
development, and continual investment has ensured it has kept up with significant
technological change. An important philosophy in its design is making the bureau
processing of payroll as efficient as possible. It is now used by one of the major
pension companies, processing in excess of 100,000 pensioner payslips per month.
»Managing Director:
»Established in 1997
»Based in Bishop’s Stortford,
Hertfordshire and Caterham,
»Services: Outsourced payroll,
HR advice and employee
»No. of employees: 5
»Harper Morris uses its own
software, TalentPay, which
gives it an edge over many of
its competitors
Harper Morris Payroll
Our growth has been a result of both
acquisition and organic growth. In April
2011, we acquired Bridgehead, enabling
us to develop new opportunities. Part
of the Bridgehead business provided
employee benefits such as pensions, life
insurance, private medical insurance and
income protection. As an organisation
registered with the Financial Conduct
Authority, the company now supports
all areas of employment including
payroll, HR and employeebenefits.
Turnover of the group is now in excess of
£1 million and growing. This continued
growth has enabled HM to set up a
fund for charitable donations to support
charities nominated by ouremployees.
Security is of the utmost
The nature of our business means we
are dealing with people’s personal data,
bank accounts and other confidential
information. Keeping these details safe
is, therefore, a prerequisite, setting data
security as our highest importance.
We are an audited BACS-approved
payroll bureau. Achieving this status
required proving our security and
processes were secure. We understand
that maintaining cybersecurity is
currently a massive challenge, and
we have subsequently become Cyber
Essential Plus certified, a standard
promoted by government, requiring
annual on-site auditing and stringent
testing of our internal network.
The nature of the industry means
that rules are frequently changed
by government, with budget
announcements always being of interest,
and we must, therefore, always be
prepared for new laws. Compliance is
demanding, however, and necessitates
updating of software to ensure it is in
line with new laws. Although this can be
time-consuming and costly, our IT team
are hugely efficient in the development
process, bringing software in line with
any newdirectives.
Introduced in 2018, GDPR is another
area in which we have had adapted
our procedures. Among other things,
for example, we have had to reissue all
of our client contracts and update our
website, making sure all procedures
are GDPR compliant.
A diverse and global client base
HM has always been keen to work
with companies of all sizes, with our
clients currently ranging from FTSE 100
companies through to sole traders.
From the beginning, it was important to
ensure we did not exclude any company
from the benefits of working with HM.
We pride ourselves on our customer
service, and our response to questions
and enquiries is second tonone.
With clients around the world, it is
vital for the team to make sure they
are fully up to speed with tax and
employment issues that may be linked
to the payroll. As such, I travel to the
USA and other countries in Europe,
speaking with partners and clients
about their needs and requirements
to ensure our system can produce the
correct documentation when needed.
Investing in our staff
We believe that without the right team
it is impossible to grow and maintain
standards in the business. Recruitment
and retention of staff has always
been our key to delivering a first-class
service. To this end, I am pleased to say
that we have minimal staff turnover
and have always been keen to ensure
new employees are integrated quickly
and made to feel an important part of
The future is difficult to predict, but Brexit
will undoubtedly have an impact on,
among other things, cross-border payrolls
and the right-to-work rules for the UK.
Despite this, we are confident and will
take a positive approach to developing
the business over the coming years.
Our Bishop’s
Stortford offices
One of our regular
team meetings
As an
with the FCA,
the company
now supports
all areas of
payroll, HR
support and


This article was sponsored by Harper Morris Payroll. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss.

Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss

Even by the standards of the day –this has been one of the most exciting and unpredictable years in British politics.

The leadership election we’ve just seen marks a huge moment in our country’s history. This government is taking a decisive new direction, embracing the opportunities of Brexit and preparing our country to flourish outside the EU.

As international trade secretary, I’ll be driving forward work on the free trade agreements that are going to be a priority for the government. Free trade isn’t just an abstract concept bandied around by technocrats. It is crucial for a strong economy and for the ability of families to make ends meet. Free trade benefits people in every part of our country, as British firms export to new markets and people doing the weekly shop have access to a wider choice of goods at lower prices.

The essence of free trade is in the title: freedom. It’s about giving people the power to exchange their goods without heavy government taxation or interference. Commerce and free exchange are the engine room of prosperity and social mobility. I’m determined to tackle the forces who want to hold that back.

One of my priorities is agreeing an exciting new free trade deal with the US, building on the great relationship between our two countries and the Prime Minister and US President. But I’ll also be talking to other partners including New Zealand, Australia and fast-growing Asian markets.

And with the EU too, we want a friendly and constructive relationship, as constitutional equals, and as friends and partners in facing the challenges that lie ahead – a relationship based on a deep free trade agreement. Our country produces some of the world’s most successful exports, and the opportunity to bring these to the rest of the world should make us all excited about the future. It is this excitement, optimism and ambition which I believe will come to define this government.

For too long now, we have been told Britain isn’t big or important enough to survive outside the EU – that we have to accept a deal that reflects our reduced circumstances. I say that’s rubbish. With the right policies in place, we can be the most competitive, free-thinking, prosperous nation on Earth exporting to the world and leading in new developments like AI. To do that, we’ll give the brilliant next generation of entrepreneurs the tools they need to succeed. Since 2015, there has been a staggering 85 per cent rise in the number of businesses set up by 18 to 24 year olds – twice the level set up by the same age group in France and Germany. We’ll help them flourish by championing enterprise, cutting taxes and making regulation flexible and responsive to their needs.

As we do that, we’ll level up and unite all parts of the UK with great transport links, fibre broadband in every home and proper school funding, so everyone shares in our country’s success.

2019 has been the year of brewing economic and political revolution. 2020 will be the year when a revitalised Conservative government turbo charges the economy, boosts prospects for people across the country, and catapults Britain back to the forefront of the world stage.

Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss
Secretary of State for International Development