Sutton Centre for the Voluntary Sector (SCVS) began providing a payroll service in 1989/90.  The idea came from Stan Thomson (Finance Manager) and Ann Burleigh (Director) who thought it would be a good idea to offer the facility to the growing voluntary sector in Sutton and to produce an income for SCVS.

By 1991 it was ‘slowly expanding’ and involved ‘some 50 persons’ (Stanley Thomson, Treasurer).

In February 1993 Mike James joined the team and takes up the story … "my initial contract was for 7 hours a week! There were no computerised accounts - Stan ran the accounts from three ledgers - a cash book, a petty cash book and a ledger. From these he produced immaculate accounts!  When I joined we had eight clients, they were SCVS, Sutton Volunteer Bureau, Homestart, Alzheimers Society, DAS, Advocacy Partners, Mencap and CAB. The payrolls of these groups were considerably smaller than they are now.

SCVS I think only had two computers in those days and the monthly payroll was run on an Amstrad on which we had to book time in competition with other staff members. It had a dot-matrix printer which was the curse of West Street as it  was a very noisy machine and we produced a lot of reports.

As the sector expanded and our service became better known we attracted more clients, Sutton Mental Health Foundation, Cheam Priory and Shopmobility were next to use the service.

I do remember at this point Stan saying we could only cope with one more client, to bring up the dozen, unless we could get an upgraded computer which seemed unlikely. However Ann raised the money from somewhere and we went on to SAGE windows for both accounts and payroll I think around 1996.”

During that financial year (1996/7) SCVS was paying 164 employees from 21 organisations and the Payroll had an annual value of £1.75m.  There was clearly the need for a service and there was a rapid growth which mirrored the growth in the voluntary sector.  Within the next 10 years (by 2006/07) SCVS was paying 660 people from 98 organisations with an annual value of £6.5 million.
 In March 2010 Creative Payroll Solutions (CPS) Ltd was established as an independent Company Limited by Guarantee and a trading subsidiary of SCVS to provide bespoke payroll services to the voluntary sector and to generate income to support the core work of SCVS.

By our 50th anniversary last year (2015) CPS Ltd was paying 1042 employees across 129 organisations in the voluntary sector with a total annual value of £14.7 million.  We have come a long way from ‘some 50 persons’ and we have ambitious growth plans to increase payroll services to the voluntary sector and income to SCVS.