Industry: Footwear brand and retailer
Number of UK employees: 11,303
Clarks Pensions Department oversees more than £500 million in assets, and administers benefits for 11,000 UK employees. Clarks were aware that the business of running a pension scheme has changed dramatically.
The demands on trustees to have better knowledge and understanding of the schemes were increasing. The demands on the Pensions Department were also increasing with regard to the complexity of the arrangements, the legislative requirements, and the need to keep stakeholders well informed.
“We were aware that historically some industry initiatives were in the ‘box ticking’ category and had made little difference in reality. We wanted to look very broadly at practical and cost effective ways in which we could make a real and significant improvement to the governance framework for the benefit of members, trustees, and the sponsoring employer,” said Peter Drew, Pensions Manager at Clarks.
“New trustees needed more support to get to grips with the job. Presenting scheme information and the body of pensions knowledge to trustees in a consistently logical and accessible format is a challenge which urgently needed addressing.”
When presented with papers, trustees were not confident that they were looking at the latest version of a document. With the opportunities new technology offered, Clarks knew there were better ways to manage information so that trustees, advisers, administrators, the secretariat, and the company could access it. They decided to reduce time spent by advisers, trustees, and the pensions department distributing information, searching for information, and identifying the most up to date versions of documents.
Clarks wanted to improve the way they worked together as a community. Collaboration and decision making in running the scheme involved around 24 meetings of committees and subcommittees a year. Clarks wanted to streamline the production of agendas, papers, minutes, and other work which surrounds each meeting. They also wanted to find better ways to manage all the information relating to each meeting.
Clarks chose eShare’s governance software BoardPacks as the framework to start developing practical strategies to solve their issues. eShare came with a track record of implementing successful knowledge solutions for their clients.
“eShare was the obvious choice. Their expertise, focus, and approach was by far the best fit for a flexible solution which we could grow to meet our governance needs. We have not been disappointed,” said Peter Drew. ”We were wary of complex implementations, but we could not have hoped for a simpler, more painless implementation of the system.”
BoardPacks has centralised the complex Clarks’ knowledge base and history. All parties can now access information like never before. New trustees can access information in a manageable way which, in turn, supports their training.
With the Decisions module, audit trails for decisions not only exist, but can quickly be located.
Peter Drew said, “Within a few months we were reaping the rewards. Some trustees were very quick to engage with the use of systems. They have better access to knowledge and can do more in the time they have available. They are also increasingly aware of their responsibilities and what they have to do to discharge those responsibilities.”
Some trustees have stated that they will look back and wonder how they ever managed without eShare. Peter Drew continued, “BoardPacks has delivered what we required and it has been refreshingly pain free to achieve. We can also see the potential for the system to continue to support our planned improvement.”
“eShare was the obvious choice. Their expertise, focus, and approach was by far the best fit for a flexible solution which we could grow to meet our governance needs. We have not been disappointed.”
For Clarks, the trustee experience is enhanced by giving them the tools they need to understand and perform their roles. Advisers, trustees, and other stakeholders all have easy access to information. Audit trails are stored for decisions and are easily accessible, and all information is securely backed up.