Case Study

Change Management, Centralisation Challenge and Functional Leadership


Change Management, Centralisation Challenge and Functional Leadership

“I couldn’t have done it without them. They thought of everything and what was critical – Birch-HR kept the whole project on track. There were seven or eight different HR workstreams, each with multiple tasks and they kept both strategic and operational focus and delivered what the Trust required”. Carmel Brown, HR and Operational Director

What was the HR situation?

  • One of the UK’s largest Multi-academy trusts agreed an ambitious strategy to deliver functional leadership and complex centralisation change across identified key support services. 
  • Centralising key support services, would deliver efficiency savings, improve compliance/risk management, avoid duplication, harmonise terms and conditions, strategic oversight and ensure consistency in how support services were delivered across all the academies. 
  • Functional leaders would become lead specialists for estates and IT teams, providing consistent central training and induction programmes for individuals and career pathways.
  • Headteachers and other leaders would be released from the management of key support services so they could focus on school improvement.
  • Any funding and benefits realisation would be used to invest in providing school improvement resources.

How did the Birch-HR Consultant(s) support?

  • After a recommendation, Birch-HR were appointed to support the planning and implementation of the transformation project.
  • Birch-HR developed the HR methodology and identified solutions and processes to plan and implement the desired changes in line with the trust strategic priorities. A HR workstream initiation document (WID) was developed to define the key HR project deliverables, risks, dependencies, changing priorities and to define a fair and transparent HR process in line with the Trust’s reorganisation policy and specified deadlines.
  • Birch-HR attended regular executive board meetings as part of the governance process.
  • Birch-HR worked alongside the trust internal HR team and involved their Trust HR provider to manage costs, to use all available HR resources and draw on expertise. 
  • Birch-HR considered how the Trust could identify and effectively manage talent and effective use of career pathways as part of the fair selection process.
  • Birch-HR defined a best practice national and regional consultation framework.
  • Principals were briefed at regional events, issued with resource toolkits and weekly updates to enable effective engagement with key stakeholders.
  • The HR methodology helped to mitigate redundancies and identify suitable alternative posts for those at risk of redundancy.

What was the outcome and how did HR add value?

  • The HR consultants provided valuable strategic and operational advice and support throughout the planning and implementation phases of the project to deliver a new functional leadership model for support services.
  • The HR consultants ensured that all Principals and the Trust adhered to a consistent restructure policy, governance framework, met deadlines, had access to appropriate toolkits, best practice advice, established an effective employee engagement strategy and trade union consultation framework.

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