Thirty-six member trusts of national body The Sports and Recreation Trust Association (Sporta) have banded together to establish an auto-enrolment scheme.
The move will enable them to benefit from greater economies of scale resulting from the negotiations of a larger group.
Sporta has more than 100 member trusts across the UK, made up of former local authority leisure and cultural organisations.
Lynn Murray, director of corporate services at leisure trust Active Stirling in Stirlingshire, Scotland, helped to lead the project’s management committee. She said: “Some of the smaller trusts would have struggled to afford advice. Coming together has meant keeping the costs down for everyone and, crucially, getting valuable consultancy.
“Most of our 400 employees in Stirling are not eligible for the local government pension scheme (LGPS). We wanted to make sure that the alternative scheme was good quality. Even those who can join the LGPS may opt to join if paying lower contributions works for them.”
Mark Symons, managing director at Tandridge Trust in Surrey, which is one of the smaller partners within the scheme, with 240 employees due to auto-enrol in April 2014. He said: “We felt that the smaller trusts could benefit from the buying powers of Sporta as a group.
“This means they get access to specialist advice at a generic level with the option to purchase additional, specific advice, if required. As with most trusts, we have a high proportion of young workers and employees on zero-hour contracts, so there’s a great deal of complexity, despite the relatively small staff numbers.”
Sporta has appointed Punter Southall to advise on its plans for auto-enrolment.
Neil Latham, principal at Punter Southall, added: “We were keen to help Sporta develop this unusual collaborative approach.
“This has allowed us to provide technical guidance to a large number of these trusts, many of which would not normally have approached an employee benefits consultancy.
“Not only have they enjoyed economies of scale on the costs, but we have been able to consider a broad range of issues that are relevant across all trusts involved.
“By combining their resources, they will also benefit from a tailored scheme that offers better value for money than they could obtain individually.”