Creating a new operating company after the collapse of Southern Cross.

When Southern Cross Healthcare experienced severe financial problems there was an imperative to act quickly so that old and vulnerable residents would not be threatened. The landlords of the 750 care homes in effect took control of the business.

Collinson Grant was asked by NHP, which owned about 250 properties, to help it create a new business from scratch and transfer most of the 13,500 employees to the new organisation. The whole exercise had to be completed in only three months – from 1st August to 31st October – before Southern Cross ran out of funds. We quickly assembled a multidisciplinary team to plan and execute the transition. The main tasks were:

  • to create and manage a master project plan which covered every aspect of the exercise. For example: ensuring that legal and regulatory matters were finalised; patients’ possessions were safeguarded; and sufficient day-to-day provisions were available on the opening day; as well as a multitude of other priorities
  • to design and put in place an organisational structure which met the physical disposition of homes and supported the new operating ethos of the business, with a greater emphasis on individual employee’s responsibility for high standards of care
  • to populate the new organisation by transferring staff under TUPE arrangements and dealing with the inevitable ‘wrinkles’ in matching people to jobs. We managed the complex consultations with employees and their representatives, and handled those cases that could not be resolved amicably and resulted in claims to the Employment Tribunal
  • to organise external and internal recruitment for a significant number of newly designed jobs
  • to manage the transfer of Southern Cross’s back office systems and reduce them in size to match the needs of the new business.

The new business – HC-One Limited – began operating on 1st November 2011. The transfer was managed on time and in budget, with the minimum disruption to residents and their families.

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