Peninsula Business Service/ Bright HR

Hello all We are a small (15 employees) company that are looking to move from spreadsheets. I've had a chat with Peninsula Business Services and was impressed. Has anyone used them and can recommend them/ and the product Bright HR? Thank you for your help, Rebecca
  • To be honest, I don't see the need for paying for such a service with only 15 people. Spreadsheets are perfectly ok! The other thing to bear in mind with such companies is that they will be very risk averse, and any insurances you have with them will be dependent on following to the letter their off the shelf, not at all bespoke to you, processes. This isn't actually always (or very often in fact) the best idea for a very small business.
  • Hello, I have used BrightHR previously and we regretted getting it. The reporting functions aren't great and it doesn't seem to work with any payroll systems. Spreadsheets are just as good for a small number of people.
  • Hi Rebecca

    If you enter Peninsula in the search box you will find threads where people have shared their experience of working with them. It isn't entirely good news.

    I would also try searching HRIS. Every so often someone will ask for recommendation in these forums and you will find a useful selection of recommendations.

    (My personal favourite for an SME? BreatheHR. I have introduced it to 2 companies and it has been a great success both times, but you will find other people are equally enthusiastic about other systems).

    If you decide the BrightHR is the one you want to go for, try asking them for a quote for their EAP as they provide their HRIS free to EAP customers. However, I don't know if there is a lower limit on size.

  • We use Peninsula for their H&S support, using their BusinessSafe software and their on-site annual audits for all of our buildings (we run business centres).

    They’re currently on a hard sell for BrightSafe, their H&S software, and are selling BrightHR alongside, as the two systems integrate. We’re tied in to a fairly pricey three year contract, using software they are phasing out (BusinessSafe), and they would like us to now also pay them for the new software on top… we’ll be looking at other options when we approach the end of our (auto-renewing!) contract.

    So my advice would be to be very clear what you are paying for, and for how long. We use BreatheHR for our 34 employees; it’s great, low cost, and does what we (as an SME) need it to.
  • Hi Rebecca,

    I use peninsula for employment law advice and the insurance, I would agree with the comments about them being risk averse. I think with such a small headcount you may find some of their processes time consuming.
  • I'd also recommend Breathe HR as a system for small businesses - we got Breathe about two years ago when we had over 200 employees. We've now shrunk (thanks, pandemic!) to about 100 employees and Breathe is working really well for us. It's easy to learn and has enough functionality and reporting that we can do everything we need to do. I've implemented and used quite a few HR systems and for a small business, Breathe is definitely my favourite. They also have bolt on modules that you can add if you wish - we've just added their Learning module and their Rota system is also looking quite interesting.
  • In reply to Benjamin:

    It isn’t all that difficult almost totally to eliminate Tribunal etc risks from normal HR operations, so IMHO there’s not much point in paying a substantial fee to a third party for ‘guidance’ that can be so risk-averse as to be useless and / or needlessly costly in other ways to the employer. Such third parties are usually intent on safeguarding their own interests in such matters, which aren’t necessarily the same as yours.
  • Hi there,

    I looked at Bright as we are tied into Simply Personnel which has become seriously outdated and Bright is their new software and they are pushing everyone towards it. For us it is not flexible enough, reporting is not great and they have some strange security levels - for instance any manager on the system can add, delete or change their employees - I am not one for too much control but that made me wince a little. In terms of alternatives, I would agree with others about BreatheHR. I am looking at it for our company (we have 60 employees) but I have also put it into a charity I work with who only have 8 employees and it has made the world of difference to them. You are also not tied into contracts, it rolls on a monthly basis and I feel it is very keenly priced. If you are a charity you get a lifetime 50% discount.
    Hope that helps

  • +1 to all of the above.

    Used Breathe at a previous company, now stuck in a long and expensive with Penninsula and Bright (taken out before I joined).
    It is best suited to companies where they do not have anyone to consider HR IMO. But to be insured I have to run every little decision past them which is, quite frankly, exhausting. It's not bad advice, just often overkill.
    Bright is so basic in what it does, I'm constantly frustrated by it. The worst part is international employees, no provisions for any bank holidays outside UK.
    And as someone mentioned, the contract auto-renews if you don't cancel SIX MONTHS before it ends!

  • I also used Peninsula and also found them very inflexible. It can be frustrating each time you call speaking to someone different and the length of time it takes them to come back, when you need speedy advice!
  • In reply to Jules:

    CIPD is now a commercial partner of Peninsula / Croner eg via HR Inform.
    See previous thread eg

  • I used to work for Peninsula/Croner and I would avoid anything to do with them and their products.
  • In reply to David:

    I worked for a hotel and they were taken over and the new owner/company used Peninsual at their other sites. Unfortunately, their HR was done by the Accountant and not someone like me! Needless to say they made me redundant and from what I can find out they are still using them, cheaper than paying me I suppose.
  • we currently use Peninsula and we are looking to get out of it but that will not be until next year with 6 months notice period. The idea is with my training and the use of a HR solicitor for anything I cannot handle it would be cheaper. we only have 33 employees.
  • I wouldn’t recommend bright hr, it is good for booking holiday but all documents need uploading manually, save your money and have an electronic file which generally does the same. Spreadsheets work well for a SME of your size. If you do sign up to them beware of the cancelling of contract. You need to give 6 months notice otherwise they roll you into a mew contract of the same length as your first contract. They rarely let you out of this, I have tried.
    There is really good advise out there, CIPD, ACAS etc where you can source what you need, plus this forum, so I would save your money and maybe put it into something nice for your employees.