Foundation Degree in Pensions Administration and Management

The pensions industry, whether it is the 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.

This qualification sets out to ensure an in-depth understanding of the Local Government Pension Scheme (England and Wales) whilst providing management skills including time project and operational management.

The Foundation Degree in Pensions Administration and Management also helps towards meeting the criteria in order to apply for Chartered membership.

Click here for important information regarding Coronavirus

Click here to read about temporary changes to our Planning for this programme from September 2021.

Why should I invest in the qualifications?

Through this qualification you will gain increased confidence and knowledge in the Local Government Pension Scheme (England and Wales) and help prevent penalties and fines for non-compliance.

The work based project and the completed assessments are based on legislation and your own organisation, which will improve knowledge and enhance transferable skills, benefiting your role through improved efficiencies and effectiveness.

Who is the qualification aimed at?

Individuals wishing to enhance their career opportunities through the achievement of an industry recognised qualification, and apply your new found skills within the workplace.


Year one: Practitioner certificate in pensions

Introduction to Payroll and Pensions

  • Objectives of the payroll team
  • Types of UK pension schemes
  • Payroll data categories and frequencies
  • Right to work employment checks
  • Overview of employment status

Pensions payroll

  • Data collection and input
  • Data processing and output
  • Pay As You Earn (PAYE)
  • Verification and controls

Working in a team

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

Exploration of Benefit Entitlements and Early Leavers

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

Retirement and death benefits

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

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

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

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 HOW college student.

Recommended study hours per week are 8-10 hours.

For employers with five or more learners, the course can be delivered on your site. For further information please email [email protected]

How much does it cost?

Full course fee: £3,295 + VAT per year

The Foundation Degree Access Course costs £1,595 + VAT

If you wish to enrol on more than five people or for more information on the costs, please call 0121 712 1023 or email us here.

Whilst studying with the CIPP you are required to be an associate level (or above) member of the Institute. This is to support your further reading and studies throughout the qualification. If you aren’t already a member you will need to join at the discounted cost of £130, a saving of £65*.

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

*saving equates to a reduction of the associate member fee of £30, plus we have waived the usual £35 registration fee

Disability support and mitigating circumstances

You may be eligible for Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs) to cover some of the extra costs you have because of a mental health problem, long term illness or any other disability.  If eligible, you can get the allowances on top of your other student finance. You will not need to repay DSAs.

The CIPP does NOT provide any advice or assistance in completing your application for DSAs, to find out whether you are eligible, and to apply for a DSA, you can access:

The Student Finance Guide to DSAs 


HMRCs website -

When completing your DSA application form please ensure that 'Heart of Worcestershire College, Redditch' is shown as your institution.  Please do NOT complete section five relating to your course of study and intensity of study.  When the DSA receive your form they will automatically contact the college requesting this information, which will also validate you being a student. 

Prices valid for this intake only and reviewed annually.

Student loans

Due to changes in HEFCE funding, students enrolling on the Foundation Degree in Payroll Management, Foundation Degree in Pensions Administration 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 governing 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 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.

Student loan application process



The Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) assessment is a university required assessment designed for Payroll or Pensions professionals with at least two years’ experience.

Successful completion of the RPL assessment will enable an individual to progress directly to year two of the Foundation Degree in Payroll Management or Foundation Degree in Pensions Administration and Management.