Higher Education Payroll Shared Services (HEPSS) – Process Lead (Universities and other Colleges)

Assignment to Department of Education & Skills (DES)

Expressions of interest are sought from officers for assignment to the post of Higher Education Payroll Shared Services (HEPSS) – Process Lead (Universities and other Colleges), on a temporary basis for a minimum period of 2 years.  The assignment, which will have a particular remit in regard to the HEPSS Project as it affects the University and other Colleges sector, is a temporary resource for a period of 2 years, with the option of one or more twelve-month extension periods. The person appointed will be responsible for leading elements of the design, development and implementation of the HEPSS Project as set out in the Department’s Shared Services Plan 2017-2020.

This role has been set at an Assistant-Principal Officer (APO) level in the civil service. Further information on the APO grade, and competencies for that role, is set out as an Appendix.


Background Information

The Government’s most recent Public Service Reform Plan gave a strong mandate for the increased use of shared services across the public sector.

The Department of Education and Skills, under the mandate of the Public Service Reform Plan for 2014 – 2016, and of its Shared Services Plans 2014-2016 and 2017-2020, proposes to actively participate in the roll out of Shared Services in areas such as HR, Payroll, Pensions, Finance, IT and Corporate Services within the Department of Education and Skills. It also intends to investigate all possible opportunities for Shared Services initiatives across the entire Education and Training Sector. These opportunities will be individually evaluated using a standard methodology and should there prove to be a sound business case, the initiatives will be rolled out for the relevant areas of the Sector. The plan includes Payroll Shared Services for the Higher Education sector.

Data gathering and a baseline study on the feasibility of payroll shared services in Higher Education was conducted by the Department and the sector in 2014. In 2015, on the basis of this, a Business Case was compiled which recommended a Shared Services Payroll solution for the Higher Education sector. The overarching aim of this project is to deliver an efficient and effective solution for Payroll in the Higher Education sector and to support the sector to focus on its core objective: to deliver higher education and training. The Department and the Higher Education Programme Board, consisting of Departmental, HEA and sectoral representatives, has agreed to move towards the first phase of implementation of the project.

The first phase of the HEPSS Project will require detailed information gathering within the sector and the development of a gap analysis, along with the development of a detailed implementation plan for the Project. This work is intended to provide a more detailed extrapolation of those aspects of the Business Case that bear directly on implementation, and will involve regular liaison with the sector, both bilaterally and through project governance structures.

The Payroll Process Lead (Universities and other Colleges) will be a key figure in the design, development and implementation of the shared services solution set out in the Business Case, and will play a key role in driving the engagement with the sector, the development of the gap analysis, and the development of the detailed implementation plan for Payroll Shared Services in the Higher Education sector.

The location of the post will be in the Dublin area. The successful candidate will report to the ESBS HEPSS Project Manager and will work closely with the Department’s Public Service Reform Programme Management Office. Travel around the country in line with the requirements for the position will be required as needed.


Job Specification

  1. The role of the HEPSS Project Process Lead (Universities and other Colleges) will include the following:

Areas of Responsibility

  • Conducting a gap analysis on Higher Education Payroll processes and systems, including comparisons between the current payroll processes and systems, and an optimal shared services process, and providing specific expertise related to the Universities and other Colleges;
  • Assisting the development of a Payroll Shared Services implementation roadmap by analysing current processes to understand variations from standard, cost of process and key inputs and output;
  • Working as part of the HEPSS team led by a Project Manager, and supporting the Project Manager in the planning, design, development and implementation of the shared services solution for the sector outlined in the Business Case;
  • Designing detailed future Payroll processes, ensuring Higher Education Institutions are closely involved and their business needs are reflected in the end design and supported by technology in support of the implementation roadmap;
  • Providing the Project Team with a detailed operational understanding of current payroll activities within the sector;
  • Managing Process workshops including setup, facilitation and outputs;
  • Providing the necessary contacts within the sector or finding those contacts;
  • Where necessary, follow up on queries with the sector;
  • Tracking project progress against milestones, progressing issues that will impact the project critical path;
  • Attending workshops/events to support the wider project activity;
  • Providing input to the development of Memorandums of Understanding, Service Level Agreements and performance management metrics; and
  • Other relevant shared services project tasks.

Key Deliverables:

  • Gap Analysis and Implementation Plan;
  • Project Plan[s];
  • Benefits Realisation Plan;
  • Risk and Issue logs;
  • Effective Training/Implementation Programme;
  • Effective Communications Plan for various stakeholders;
  • Project Documentation including reports, data gathering, business cases, strategies; and
  • An effective handover to the shared services operations team.


Eligibility Requirements

In order to be eligible for this post, applicants must, on the date of circulation of this notice:-

  • Be serving in a permanent capacity in a University or other College or Institute of Technology;
  • Have not less than 1 year of service in a University or other College or Institute of Technology and have successfully completed the required probation period; and
  • Have a satisfactory sick leave and attendance record.

The successful candidate must have:

  • Knowledge of the administration/delivery of payroll, in particular arrangements pertaining to payroll systems in the University and other Colleges sector;
  • Demonstrable experience in identifying, analysing, developing, documenting and implementing process improvements;
  • Knowledge of general financial shared service approaches;
  • A broad understanding of strategic and policy issues in Higher Education and the wider reform agenda;
  • Proven ability to identify, develop and maintain an effective network of contacts at all organisation levels and across multiple stakeholders;
  • Experience at working both independently (with minimum supervision) and in a team-oriented, collaborative environment;
  • Strong written and oral communication skills;
  • Excellent presentation and interpersonal skills;
  • Ability to effectively prioritise and execute tasks in a high-pressure environment;
  • Good IT skills, proficient in the use of MS Office applications;
  • Knowledge of Shared Service approaches and support systems.


Other skills and experiences desired but not required include:

  • Relevant HR/Payroll/Finance qualification (degree level) or equivalent work experience;
  • Knowledge or experience of benefits realisation.


Reporting Relationships

  1. The successful candidate will report to the ESBS HEPSS Project Manager in the Department of Education and Skills. 
  2. An annual performance management plan will be agreed between the successful candidate and their Manager and there will be periodic performance meetings to review progress and address any issues arising.


The Selection Process

  1. Following the closing date, the applications received for this post will be reviewed by an expert panel.  Should the number of applications be considered too large to make it practical to invite all applications to interview, a process of shortlisting may take place to identify those deemed most suitable. This process will be based on the information provided in the application forms.
  2. Those shortlisted will be called to interview, where an expert selection board will focus on exploring their skills and experience to date to determine to what extent they can demonstrate the requirements for the particular role available.


Employer and Location

  1. The successful candidate will, on appointment, be based in the Department of Education and Skills, Marlborough Street, Dublin 1 and may be required to move to the offices of the ESBS Centre in the Dublin area when this is occupied.


Conditions of Assignment

The successful candidate must be in a position to take up duty without undue delay to the Department of Education and Skills.  Consideration will be given to approving the backfilling of the vacancy occasioned by the assignment of the successful candidate.

At the end of the period of assignment, the officer will return to his/her organisation or be redeployed in accordance with the redeployment arrangements applying at that time.

While on assignment to the Department of Education and Skills, the officer will continue to have access to promotional opportunities in his/her organisation and to other competitions for which s/he is eligible.

In the event of the officer’s service with the Department of Education and Skills not being satisfactory during the period of assignment, or in the event that the Department decides not to proceed with the Project, the officer will be returned to his or her organisation.

For Principal Conditions of Service see Appendix 1 in attached doc Process Lead University EOI


How to Apply

 Applications must be made by e-mail to Raymond_Mullen@education.gov.ie no later than 12 noon, Monday 24th July 2017 and should comprise:

  1. A comprehensive CV clearly showing your relevant achievements and experience in your career to date;
  2. A short (i.e. no more than 500 words) cover letter/personal statement outlining why you wish to be considered for this post and where you believe your skills and experience meet the requirement of this position; and
  3. A completed and signed Process Lead University EOI FORM (see attached).


If you do not receive an acknowledgement of receipt of your application within two working days of applying, please contact Raymond Mullen.

If the numbers applying for the position are such that it would not be practical to interview everyone, it may be decided to shortlist candidates and call to interview only those who appear to be the most suitable for the position. It is envisaged that interviews will take place in August/September 2017.


HR Departments in Universities and other Colleges will be informed of any member of staff who has applied for an assignment to this role. In addition, the relevant HR Manager will be required to certify that a candidate has worked well in his or her present post, has been satisfactory in general conduct and in respect of sick leave prior to the candidate being offered a position.


For additional information about the position, you may contact Raymond Mullen in the DES Public Service Reform Programme Management Office, at the email address provided above.