Countryside Properties is a leading UK developer specialising in building communities and using urban regeneration to build beautiful, welcoming homes and create strong communities. With over 60 years’ experience and a reputation for high quality design and build, sound governance and good management practices, their expertise has been recognised with more than 350 awards for design and sustainability excellence since 2000. For the year ending 30th September 2017, Countryside Properties generated £34.5m in economic and social benefits for local people and the economy. Unsurprisingly, it was important their HR partner shared a similar ethos.
Countryside Properties has grown phenomenally over the past five years, and it was important they had a legal partner which could keep up – and reflect their own values to boot.
As the company grew organically, there was a clear need to have an external provider – with a wealth of ‘hands on’ experience – to act far more as a sounding board for the brand’s own, in-house HR team.
Previously, the HR team relied on personal experience and instinct when it came to the best way to tackle an employment obstacle. The desire was there to have a raft of experts on-hand to act as a sounding board before committing to any next steps.
ESP were appointed to provide consistent, high quality specialist employment law advice, which ensures positive results are felt across the business.
Because employee relations is not as simple as black and white, there is never a single right answer to any query. Working with a company which understands the way Countryside Properties works – and the things that matter to them – is central to being able to provide highly commercial, option-based legal advice which is totally focused on providing business solutions, whilst being aware of where senior management is coming from in terms of company direction, and ambition.
The Countryside Properties team utilises a range of ESP’s online document precedents and wider HR resources to help with internal processes and communications, alongside the personal, specialist legal advisory service – which allows them to speak to their dedicated legal team of two personally selected lawyers as often as they need.
The Countryside HR team find it incredibly reassuring to have someone who is just a phone call away to sense-check a decision before pressing on with an employee-relations matter – having a second opinion so readily available has proven invaluable since the onset of the relationship.
The consistency of ESP’s advice, tone and approach, further cemented our already-positive relationship. Although I have two named and dedicated key points of contact, there have been times when I have spoken to a different lawyer – for one reason or another. I value, firstly, the speed at which an alternative advisor is sought, and the clear, consistent approach and tone across the board. It is a hard thing to master, and the success is testament to the success of ESP’s recruitment strategy and approach.
The nature of advice – in the situations where you need it most – is second-to-none. There have been occasions when there have been solutions I would not have otherwise thought of. When you add to that the conscious effort ESP makes to truly understand the nuances of our business, they really feel like an extension of the Countryside Properties HR team, and I think that is their greatest asset and a real differentiator from many others in the market.
HR Operations Director, Countryside Properties
Every day, businesses like yours find ESP gives them so much more
Unlimited specialist employment law advice, tailored specifically to your business needs.
A dedicated legal advisory team assigned to you, including two practising employment lawyers as a minimum.
Full control of budgetary resources with low, fixed annual subscription.
Instant online access to a wealth of legally compliant, up to date HR and employment law documentation.