Norse Commercial Services and Home-Start Norfolk

Home-Start is a charity that provides early intervention support for young families in need and aims to give children the best possible start in life. The charity’s professional teams recruit, train and supervise volunteers, who visit families, including children from 0 to 5, who are struggling to cope. This bespoke support enables parents to develop their skills and confidence to provide better outcomes for their children; including improved health, happiness and readiness for learning.

In the past year (2016-17) 304 volunteers supported 1,236 children in 517 families with varied needs across Norfolk. These needs include mental health issues of both parents and children, rural deprivation, loneliness and isolation, low self‐esteem, domestic abuse and drug and alcohol related problems. The service also offers a special school readiness programme to help parents and children prepare for the transition to school and get maximum benefit from their education.

Started in 1990, Norse Commercial Services is a £180 million turnover group of companies, employing over 9,000 people across England and Wales, and enjoying the long-term financial security of a £2billion forward order book.

The company operates 15 joint ventures with local authorities and provides contract services direct to a wide range of public and private sector clients. Through its unique and powerful combination of public sector ethos and commercial flair, it has built a reputation for cost efficiency, quality and innovation in service delivery.

Project summary –  On 1 April 2017, the five Home-Start groups with offices in Norwich, Swaffham, Attleborough, Kings Lynn and Great Yarmouth joined together to form Home-Start Norfolk. The aim of the re-organisation was to safeguard the future of the service in Norfolk, following the withdrawal of funding by Norfolk County Council and the government.

Home-Start came to Norfolk ProHelp for help with the HR implications of this significant restructure. Support was required from a HR professional to assist with the initial TUPE transfer of staff.  Following the merger, a staff restructure took place and support was also required during this phase.

Impact – The project delivered

  • HR advice ensured that Home-Start Norfolk operated within HR legislation and were able to confidently complete a TUPE transfer and staff restructure within the boundaries of legislation.
  • As a result of his work on the merger, Ben agreed to become a Trustee
  • A successful merger has facilitated a new county structure that will provide a more sustainable future and continued service delivery
  • As a single organisation we are able to reduce our overheads and enable us to access funding on a county-wide basis
  • A stable staff team who are driven to support Home-Start Norfolk to embed new practices and drive our service forward.

“Having Ben on board was such a relief, without a HR professional to guide us it would have been far too easy for us to fall short of legislation, leaving the organisation open to the risk of disputes.  Once Ben came on board we were able to move forward with our merger, transfer staff and ensure that we could move forward.  I couldn’t have achieved this without Ben’s help and ongoing support. ” Helen Chester, Chief Executive, Home-Start Norfolk

“I was approached by Norfolk ProHelp to provide HR support and guidance on the merger of five organisations into one followed by a restructure.  Working with an external organisation and understanding the complexities of their needs was a daunting prospect.  Working with Helen was a pleasure, she took on board all of my advice and between us, and we managed to complete this project on time.  It was great to be able to provide advice and achieve this project for a completely different business to the one I work in.  I was delighted to be asked to be a Trustee for the organisation, which will allow me to have valuable input into the success of Home-Start Norfolk.” Ben Clemmett, Senior Human Resources Manager, Norse Commercial Services