Alliance Healthcare’s use of PAYreview

The company

Alliance Healthcare's origins are deeply rooted in community healthcare: the company was founded under the UniChem brand over 70 years ago by a group of London pharmacists to service independent pharmacy. Today Alliance Healthcare continue to maintain this strong service-based culture and are dedicated to working in partnership with pharmacists and manufacturers to improve healthcare in our communities. Working with their partners, Alliance Healthcare provide an innovative range of wholesale distribution and related services for the pharmaceutical and healthcare industry employing around 5,200 people in the UK. 

The issue

Alliance Healthcare was looking for a more efficient and effective approach to manage their annual review process which included assessment ratings and performance-related pay. In order to break out of what had become a hugely time-consuming administrative task, they looked for a simple, cost-effective and robust tool that could safely and securely handle their particular needs, for not only the HR team who oversee the process but also for around 60 managers who are involved in the review.

Their specific goals were to:

  1. Reduce the time and resources spent on the pay review each year.
  2. Simplify the review cycle by standardising and automating the process.
  3. Ensure sensitive information was stored securely and a clear audit trail could be produced.

In addition, ease of use and acceptance by line managers would be key measures of its success.

Our solution

Paydata’s PAYreview system has been in use by organisations of all shapes, sizes and sectors since 2011. It has been developed by people who understand the technical issues involved whilst also having direct experience of the challenges that HR teams face in conducting pay reviews.

PAYreview is an on-line application that gives users access to the real-time details of the people they are authorised to see. Reviewing managers are able to make their recommendations which are then once submitted, automatically forwarded to the next appropriate senior manager for authorisation. Where necessary such workflows can embrace several layers of the management structure, with each more senior level seeing the impact of their teams’ decisions.

How it worked

With PAYreview, we were able to offer a tried and tested product designed to be tailored to each customer’s needs. Our initial proposal stressed the security of the system, dealing as it does with the most sensitive data about employees. 

Working as a small project team, we and Alliance Healthcare set about defining their needs. This enabled the system to be configured – including customising its appearance to incorporate the customer’s corporate logo and colours.

PAYreview is designed to be intuitive for managers with prompts and online help available within the system. For the HR team who administer the pay review for Alliance Healthcare, we provide training and telephone support. Future releases of PAYreview will see HR do more themselves to enable them to be largely self-sufficient.

During the implementation and subsequently throughout the review, a small project team ensures everything runs smoothly and any issues do not escalate into problems.


For Alliance Healthcare, the system has delivered the benefits they wanted. The version control issues HR had with spreadsheets are a distant memory as everyone is only looking at real-time data no matter where they are in the process. Not only do the HR administrators have the ability to update data where required, the HR team has also been able to access the system for their business managers’ areas, subject to the same rigorous security as all users.

The annual pay review for their Head Office employees (around 900) remains a significant activity for the HR team but the amount of time they spend on administering it has dramatically reduced – by as much as 50 per cent. They can quickly see how the process is progressing and swiftly and efficiently prompt managers about impending deadlines where necessary.

Managers have responded with enthusiasm. They like the system for its simplicity. It makes their role in the pay review process relatively painless, enabling them to focus on the quality of the review decisions rather than administering a process. The system has now been successfully in operation since 2014.

“Prior to working with Paydata and implementing the PAYreview system, we would dread the annual pay review process. When working with multiple spreadsheets (up to 50) it was incredibly difficult to ensure the security of data and we had the added hassle of remembering various passwords and trying to ensure version control. 

“In 2014, we started to look at other solutions with the aims detailed above, and met with PayData. System implementation ran incredibly smoothly and from the start the system was very easy to use. The system was configured to meet our needs and adapted to suit the needs of the business. Last year we set up a project team and had weekly conference calls to ensure the process was running to plan. Paydata provided us with a huge amount of support and ensured both the HR team and our managers were training sufficiently. In particular the service provided is and has always been excellent. 

“Paydata have always been incredibly responsive with very little notice and the individuals working with us on our review were hugely knowledgeable, professional and supportive.”

Paula Sweeney
HR Service Transformation Manager
Alliance Healthcare