John Stonestreet

Head of payroll and pensions

Why did you join the CIPP?

The IPPM as it was when I joined already had the reputation of being the premier league of payroll organisations. At the start of my career the advisory line, in particular, proved invaluable to me and it was like having a large team and new colleagues who actually cared and they really looked after me.

Which benefits of CIPP membership appealed to you the most?

The advisory line at the start was brilliant. The updates you get are brilliant. Having the information come to you and not having to search for it. The formal training and the recognition you get from your peers and that you can give to you organisation, that they know you know what you are doing and can trust you. Trust is difficult to earn and its really easy to lose, and almost impossible to get back once it’s been lost so if you have that solid foundation behind you with CIPP membership and potentially the qualifications as well then your organisation can trust you, as can prospective employees. It has helped me in my career and it has allowed me to develop myself. If you stand still in the payroll world, with constant legislation and tax changes, it will move on without you, so getting regular updates from the CIPP advisory service, news online and by attending the events they put on; particularly for me in the public sector – the special interest groups - has been brilliant for me. It's allowed me to go back to my organisations with things that they may not have been aware of where the potential impact of non-compliance could a lot of cost money and reputational damage.

Tell us about a time when you or your department really felt the benefit of CIPP membership.

A while ago I was working at a recruitment agency and they took the decision to implement a salary sacrifice scheme and to make all of the agency workers employees which meant that we had to implement holiday pay, sick pay and all of the other employee rights that brings along with it. At the time I was an expert in a very narrow field and I needed the broader knowledge, and the CIPP and the qualification gave me the knowledge to be able to implement those. But if I had any doubts I would contact the advisory service and they got to know me by the end of this project by name and I really feel like they were part of the team. I got all the credit but credit should also go to CIPP.

Tell us about the day you realised CIPP membership was of real value to you?

I think it was when I was applying for jobs and more and more I noticed that the CIPP membership or qualified membership was an essential aspect of it so I was pleased that early in my career I took that step to push myself forward because these were really good jobs I was looking at that I wouldn’t have been able to do without the CIPP backing behind me.

For someone who is thinking about joining as a member, what would you advice be to them?

It’s like having an expanded team behind you. The advisory line in particular if you are unsure of anything or even if you want to double-check something, they genuinely do care and are on your side and they want you to do well. They want payroll to do well and it’s something I think people should go for.

If not membership for the benefits it gives you, then the training, the networking and the events that are put on as well. It really does give extra tools in your toolbox to deliver a better service. It puts your mind at ease if you’re unsure of anything. The networking opportunities it provides as well – you can contact people within your network who are in similar positions for support and guidance.

Why is it important to you to be a member of the CIPP?

I have always had this drive to develop myself and improve myself professionally and being a full chartered member has given me the recognition, and my organisation more faith in me, that I am a professional and I wouldn’t not have been able to that without the CIPP and Chartered membership.

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