Foundation Degree in Pensions Administration and Management

Three year duration

The pensions industry, whether it is public or private sector, is a complex industry. Students on the CIPP’s Foundation Degree in Pensions Administration and Management will engage in a work based learning experience to gain knowledge, understanding and confidence in their role.

The business management modules within the qualification will provide students with transferable skills such as performance, time, project and operational management.


Individuals who wish to enhance their opportunities of career progression through achievement of an industry recognised qualification, increasing their knowledge, confidence and ability within their role. Much of what you will learn will be based on your workplace and you will be able to apply the skills and knowledge in your everyday work.


  • Improved knowledge and confidence within your role
  • Reduced risks of non-compliance and penalties
  • Work based project, and assignments, allow you to apply what you have learnt in your organisation, benefitting you in your daily role and your organisation through improved efficiencies and effectiveness


Year one: Practitioner certificate in pensions

Introduction to pension schemes

  • Types of occupational pension schemes
  • Alternative/supplementary pension arrangements
  • Interaction with the state pension
  • HMRC legislation
  • Overview of various pension schemes

Pensions payroll

  • Data collection and input
  • Data processing and output
  • PAYE
  • Verification and controls

Working in a team

  • Communication
  • Effective co-ordination
  • Team structure and roles within the team
  • Setting, and meeting, objectives

Roles and responsibilities

  • Of the employer
  • Of the administering authority
  • Data protection and disclosure
  • Decision making and discretions
  • Communication and liaison

Accruing and improving benefits

  • Eligibility to join the pension scheme
  • Building up pension rights
  • Topping up pension rights
  • When circumstances change – impact on pension rights

Year two: Advanced practitioner certificate in pensions

Leading the team

  • Monitoring and controlling performance
  • Appraisals
  • Supervisory skills
  • Change management
  • Contracts of employment

Leaving the scheme early

  • Overview of benefit types
  • Pension entitlements
  • Refunding contributions
  • Deferred pensions
  • Transferring pension rights
  • Death awards and benefits

Leaving the scheme at retirement or death

  • ‘Normal’ retirement
  • Ill-health retirement
  • Employer driven retirement
  • Discretionary compensation
  • Death in service or deferment
  • Death on pension
  • Dependants’ benefits

Human resources and communications

  • Formation of an employment contract
  • Termination of employment
  • Dismissal and redundancy pay and pay off
  • Employment tribunals and courts
  • HR roles and responsibilities
  • Staff development
  • Communication

Define and manage, systems, security and risk

  • System requirements
  • Management information
  • Data storage
  • Data protection
  • Security and confidentiality
  • Fraud
  • Pension contingencies
  • Disruptions and risks to payroll
  • Employer obligations

Year three: Diploma in pensions administration and management

Work based project

  • Develop a research design and strategy
  • Work independently, self-critically and in an organised way on research tasks
  • Exercise critical judgement on concepts, theories and models appropriate to a work-based issue
  • Apply those concepts, theories and models to a work-based issue while sustaining a coherent and logical argument
  • Articulate and communicate the findings of a research project appropriately
  • Determine feasible opportunities for organisational development

Improving services and operations

  • Managing operations for services
  • Planning, obtaining and monitoring resources
  • Benchmarking quality issues
  • Planning and delivering projects
  • Customer service
  • Managing change and continuous improvement

Pensions strategy and policy (including overriding legislation/HMRC disclosure)

  • Fund management
  • Governance discretions
  • Role of the actuary
  • Appeals
  • Consultations and challenges (including pension reform and automatic enrolment)

Understanding customers and clients

  • Marketing skills and techniques
  • Negotiation skills and techniques
  • Verbal communication and body language
  • Managing time
  • Effective presentations
  • Decision making
  • Taking part in and chairing meetings
  • Problem solving
  • Creativity

Personal effectiveness and professional development

  • Career planning/goal setting to fit with the ever changing world of work
  • Recognising and using opportunities for the transfer of own skills, especially work based skills
  • Consideration of evidence for accreditation of prior learning and experience
  • Application of learning which enables personal development leading to enrichment of skills, knowledge and best performance


The Foundation Degree in Pensions Administration and Management delivers work based blended learning. Each module consists of one module review day which is face to face and at various locations throughout the UK, a two hour tutorial which will be provided either face to face or online depending on your geographical location and home study through the CIPP’s student website.


Full course fee: £2495 + VAT per year

RPL fee:  £450+ VAT

There are reduced rates available for charities and for organisations wishing to enrol more than five employees.

For more information on the costs please call 0121 712 1023 or email us here.

What do my fees include?

  • Access to the CIPP’s student website which provides:
    • Discussion forums so that students can support each other and where tutors can respond to any questions
    • All study material, induction and module workshop slides, plus other relevant information
  • Allocation of a tutor to provide you with support during your studies. Tutors will be allocated based on geographical location to ensure
  • Maximum benefit to students. Your tutor will arrange your tutorials which will be held on a Saturday, usually in the morning
  • Attendance at induction and module workshops: please note that the trainer that delivers these courses may be different to your tutor
  • Exam and assignment fees: please note that there will be additional cost for deferrals and re-sits if required
  • University registration and the Heart of Worcestershire College student membership which includes specialist online support
  • Trial student membership of the CIPP for the duration of your studies, providing you with access to:
    • Two enquiries to the CIPP’s technical Advisory Service helpline
    • Online Professional in Payroll, Pensions and Reward magazine
    • News On Line e-newsletter distributed with the latest news, updates and legislation


Entry level to the Foundation Degree in Payroll Management can be at year one or two, depending on experience, allowing the qualification to be achieved in two years or three. 

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

Recognition of Prior Learning is a method of assessment (leading to the award of credit) that considers whether learners can demonstrate that they can meet the assessment requirements for a unit through knowledge, understanding or skills they already possess and do not need to develop through a course of learning. RPL applies to the following CIPP payroll qualifications:

Foundation Degree in Payroll Management and Foundation Degree in Pensions Administration and Management – allowing students to enrol at year two.

Students wishing to enrol on year two of the Foundation Degree in Payroll Management or the Foundation Degree in Pensions Administration and Management will have to demonstrate that they have at least two years’ experience in the profession.

The RPL process is:

  1. Complete the year two application form and return to the CIPP offices via post
  2. The CIPP will contact you once your application has been received with login details and instructions for the on-line assessment.
  3. Should you successfully complete the RPL assessment, you shall be enrolled to start at the next available start date
  4. Should you be unsuccessful, you will be invited to enrol on year one


Once successfully completed you may choose to enrol on the BA (Hons) in Applied Business and Management (CIPP).



Please contact the education team for information on the next intake.

Please note that intakes are subject to meeting minimum student numbers, if the minimum number of students is not achieved we will contact you to discuss your options.

Business case help gain approval:

 Foundation Degree in Pensions Administration and Management business case letter

Guide for using the CIPP's student Moodle platform

Student loans

Due to changes in HEFCE funding, students enrolling on the Foundation Degree in Payroll Management, Foundation Degree in Pensions Administration and Management and BA (Hons) in Applied Business and Management for the autumn 2012 intake onwards are eligible for student loans to assist with funding these qualifications.


Student loans are available to all self-funding students in England who have not had a student loan previously. They are not based on, nor do they affect, your credit rating.

Students living in Scotland, Wales or Ireland are not currently within the student loan process. Students looking for public support to assist with funding these qualifications should apply for a part time student grant from their respective government body.

The benefits of a student loan to an individual would be:

  • No requirement to pay course fees upfront
  • No re-payment unless you reach the gross earnings threshold for student loans being £21,000 – from September 2012
  • Repayments only commence following completion of the qualification
  • You only pay back the equivalent of 9% of your earnings in excess of the gross pay threshold
  • No effect on your credit history
  • No re-payments due should you not be in work
  • No time limit for payment of the full loan
  • Gain an industry recognised University accredited qualification which is supported by a Chartered Institute
  • No credit check takes place and the loan is automatically available on the basis of the qualification being recognised by the Student Loans Company

Further information on student loans can be viewed here. Students applying for a student loan must do so through the Student Loan Company. Application packs will consist of the part-time Tuition Fee Loan application form (for new students starting their course on or after 1 September 2012), along with notes and guidance to help students with their application. Information can also be found here. To download a student loan application form, please the Student Loan Company website.

Please note if you are applying for a student loan for the Foundation Degree in Payroll Management you will be asked for the name of the institute. Please state Heart of Worcestershire College not the CIPP on your application form. Please contact the education team on 0121 712 1023 before completing the student loan application to obtain the correct information.

For more information

If you would like more information on this course, please email us by clicking the button below.

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