Case Study

Transformation and
Centralisation of Support Services for Diocese and 4 Large Multi Academy Trusts


The challenge

The Diocesan Education Service (DES) required experienced HR assistance, advice and support with the restructure and centralisation of HR, payroll, pensions and finance functions across four regional geographical areas and for four large new Catholic MATs. These incorporate 85 Voluntary Aided (VA) schools, academies and Trusts. The transformation will help ensure financial sustainability and provide consistent and streamlined HR and financial support and monitoring.

The aim is for collaborative working relationships between all academies in the four regions to:

  • Assist with school improvement, leadership and recruitment
  • Encourage sharing of expertise
  • Deliver efficiencies
  • Improve systems and governance and
  • Enable greater co-operation between academies with a shared mission.

What we did

  • Provide HR consultancy advice and support to enable the restructure/ centralisation of high quality HR and finance solutions across the four new CMATs.
  • Work closely with senior officers in the Diocese, four dedicated project leads and CEOs, we agreed a timeline of key milestones and discussed what was needed to enable the centralisation to be delivered on time and within budget.
  • Undertook project management support, organised collective/regional consultation meetings with the Trade Unions and staff (10 workplace regional meetings rather than 41 separate local meetings), supported the identification of school based support staff to be included in the ring fence, helped to develop new roles, job descriptions, regional staffing structures, pay/grading and provided streamlined HR policies for the future, such as redundancy.
  • Furthermore, we are advising on job matching, the redundancy process, employment law, best practice, identifying and managing risks, drafting communications including presentations/updates and are involved with the assessment internal process. For any remaining vacancies, we will be delivering a recruitment campaign to attract the best candidates to ensure the delivery of outstanding and exciting new proactive strategic and operational HR and finance services to all academies across the four regions. We are helping to ensure that workforce planning and new career opportunities for HR and finance staff are embedded in the new structures and that there is positive culture change.

The results

  • The centralisation of key support services in line with the Diocese strategic plan for the four regions impacting on 85 Catholic academies and VA schools on time and within budget.
  • This is transformational and provides new career opportunities for staff, plus consistent strategic and operational delivery of HR, payroll, pensions and HR services to all Catholic schools in the Trusts.
  • This will enable the sharing of expertise, reduce spend on service level agreements, eliminate duplication and improve delivery of consistent regional HR, payroll, pensions and finance solutions.
  • The proposals will help ensure the financial sustainability of Catholic schools and provide improved opportunities for every young person to receive the best possible educational opportunities

“We have pleasure in using our HR experience to support the Diocese, schools, academies and Trusts to deliver their aspiring and exciting plan for Catholic Schools and the transformation of essential support services”

Samantha Hulson, HR Director BIRCH-HR

BIRCH-HR are a ChurchMarketplace (CMP) approved HR supplier:

  • We offer preferential rates – you will save costs.
  • We have already gone through a robust tender process, which is compliant with public sector, European regulations and due diligence – you will save the expense of running your own tender process.
  • We are committed to the mission and ethos of the Catholic Church.
  • We have a proven track record.

Enquire Today

We look forward to arranging a convenient time to establish how we can best support your current leadership with the delivery of both current and future HR priorities.