How we helped a national body through a period of change

Case Study: PACEY

How we helped a national body through a period of change

PACEY is the Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years. They are a charity dedicated to supporting everyone working in childcare and early years to provide high quality care and early learning for children and families. They represent the views and experiences of practitioners and champion their vital role in helping prepare children for a bright future.


  • 80 staff
  • Staff split between HQ in Bromley and home working
  • 30,000 members

The Challenge

The organisation currently has 80 members of staff, most of whom are based in Bromley, Kent with approximately 30 people working from home across England and Wales. As with other charities, the organisation has faced significant challenges resulting from reduced government funding and has had to make difficult choices in recent years.  

At times, particularly during the transition away from reliance on local authority funding to generating new income streams, the standalone HR Business Partner needed access to external advice and representation, as the organisation re-shaped its business model to better cope with the challenges a more independently funded business would face in the future.

The Solution

After a meeting with one of esphr’s technical directors to establish the specific employment challenges faced by PACEY, we put into place a package providing:

  • Unlimited access to two dedicated employment lawyers, who understand the intricacies of the business and offer business pragmatic, commercial, ‘options-based advice’
  • Access to an HR portal of online resources, document precedents, policies and procedures that are 100% up-to-date, accurate and suitable for this type of organisation
  • Over the phone, email and online operational support and improved customer service responsiveness (enquiries responded to within 1 hour), so that issues could be dealt with immediately

This has given experienced HR Business Partner, Wendy Rushton, an effective and much-needed external sounding board going forward. She is able to confidently make decisions on behalf of the organisation, knowing these are compliant with current employment legislation and will be commercially beneficial to the organisation.

Furthermore, regular contact with the esphr employment law team means that the HR function is developing their own ability to identify those situations which require an external perspective and having access to the guidance notes means they are able to deal with situations more quickly and share knowledge with managers, enabling the business to shut down potential issues before they escalate.

Other options we looked at simply didn’t offer the flexibility, and external legal advice at the end of the phone line, when we needed it. Having a dedicated legal advisory team who I can speak to on a regular basis allows them to build up knowledge about our organisation and understand what I’m looking for from their advice.

I have a good relationship with our dedicated lawyers who know and understand our business. Unlike some lawyers, they’re able to provide me with solutions rather than just telling me what the law is. Because the service and response from esphr is so prompt, if an employment-related situation arises, it is dealt with very quickly.

Wendy Rushton

HR Business Partner, PACEY - June 2017

How we helped a national body through a period of change