Whilst the ship is still sailing through unknown waters as we deal with the impact of Coronavirus, it has been amazing to have the support of the ESP team during the rough times we have been through these past three months.

From getting to grips with furlough, to managing a consultation with redundancies, we are so very grateful for the support we’ve had from our legal advisor Sarah and all the ESP team that worked together to provide the details we required at pace, as the world changed so drastically around us. The support we received has enabled us to protect the charity for the 70,000 people living with muscle-wasting conditions who need us more now than ever.

On behalf of us all, thank you!

Catherine Woodhead, Chief Executive, Muscular Dystrophy UK - July 2020

ESP was appointed – and continue to be retained – for its unrivalled ability to provide confident and sound HR and legal advice, while remaining responsive and accessible.

The team and I have significantly expanded our knowledge in terms of employment law, and we’re in a stronger position to deliver first-class support for our representations. A knowledgeable, commercially-minded and consistent point of contact at ESP is what has fostered such a positive learning environment, alongside the focused solicitor-led training.

I’ve really benefitted from understanding some of the wider implications of the law, thanks to ESP’s vast range of in-house experience. It’s been reassuring to know that when there has been employment law implications, we’ve had experts to sense-check and assist.

Adam Dilks, Head of ER, Greene King PLC

We were using some pretty expensive city lawyers before — but we wanted to get one consistent supplier, whilst being conscious of the cost. We chose ESP after careful consideration of all our options. There is a real in-house feel to the relationship, in that they know our business and the issues we face.

The wider HR team can avoid the cautious approach you can naturally adopt when costs are on the clock every time you pick up the phone to a lawyer which can, in turn, lead to the ER team not making certain calls solely down to cost implications. The ESP model means they can sense check cases daily and are less inclined to take a risk when specialist advice is readily accessible. I think the sense checking or sounding board part of the ESP model is very valuable.

Carly Durcan, Head of Employee Relations, GVC Holdings PLC

The advice we used to receive was rarely commercial. Previously, we spent a lot of time, effort and budget on dealing with ER issues; now we don’t because we’re with ESP. They are able to give us super commercial advice which ensures positive results that are felt across the business.

It has transformed the HR function and this has made an impact on the business. We are able to capitalise on the time saved to do the projects we knew would make a difference. The wider business is already recognising this.

There is another happy by-product of our relationship with ESP. Speaking to our own dedicated employment lawyers is good exposure and experience for the HR team; it has been excellent for their professional training and development.

Yolanda Wijesinghe, HR Director UK & Ireland, PVH

It is very rare to find someone who genuinely appreciates what we want to achieve – and what matters to us as a brand – and tailors a solution around that. ESP offered a business solution which carried longevity and truly understood what I was looking for in terms of support.

Randstad’s HR team is not employed to be reactive, but to focus on pro-active and forward thinking solutions, so that we can provide the very best working conditions for our team – something that ESP understands instinctively. Furthermore, the team has had a significant impact on our own efficiencies too – the speed which we get solid, practical and relevant advice is second-to-none.

Simply put, everyone at ESP is open and honest and wants to help make your working life better – in both the short and long-term. This is the way all business relationships should be. I do not want to change supplier every few years. ESP offers security and sustainability and I look forward to working with them in the future.

Graham Trevor, HR Director (UK&I), Randstad UK

ESP feels like the fifth member of our team and the advice offered is invaluable to us. We have a great working relationship with our lead and buddy legal advisors, and the team is contactable whenever we need them, and always respond in a timely manner. Our advisors are there in the hour of need and we have no qualms about engaging in a full and frank conversation with them.

For the business, it is all about trusting the advice received, and we get that in droves! ESP offers a truly exceptional service and gives the senior leadership team such confidence – and reassurance – that we have no issue in renewing our contract year upon year.

Rachel Hawkins, HR Director, Volution Group PLC

The level of service ESP provides is outstanding. Everyone I have dealt with has been friendly and helpful and I feel privileged to have had the opportunity of working with them. I have a great working relationship with our main contacts at ESP and have total confidence in the company and the service they provide.

Making the decision to use ESP has saved us a significant amount of trouble. If we had failed to implement policies and ensure compliance with the law as the company grew, sooner or later there would have been a misunderstanding or misinterpretation of an “unwritten rule”. This could have potentially caused upset and disruption to both individuals and the business.

I know that, at any given time, I can pick up the phone and ask for advice from a trusted source. The team at ESP has proven to be made up of highly competent and skilled professionals but, more than that, they are all genuinely nice people too.

It would have been impossible to progress as a company without the support and knowledge ESP provides. I would recommend ESP at the drop of a hat to anyone looking for employment law experts.

Chris Lake, Operations Director, Glendining Signs Ltd

It is working brilliantly for us. What I really like is how ESP have taken the time to build the relationship and really understand our business.

The great thing about ESP is that they are a “family” business, not just because it’s family-owned or run but because they want to become part of your team.

They have embraced our values and understood our need for commercial, practical advice. They will give you exactly what you need. On high level calls with our CEO and MDs, the ESP lawyers are on the same wavelength. In the past when I’ve brought in HR advisors, I’ve found we have had to make the final decision. When the lawyers are there with me on the call, the understanding of our need to make a commercial decision is fully understood and made.

Ben Dalgliesh, Group Head of HR, Jensten Group Ltd

ESP offers fantastic value for money at the times when you might need it most. The advice provided is excellent and easy to understand, and our advisors are both accessible and speak in a language we can relate to. Since we have worked together, we have built some solid relationships with our advisors – so much so that they feel like a part of our own team as a result of being able to offer quick and sound advice. ESP is big on ER within their own organisation, and it’s very important for us to have a partnership with a company which shares similar values to those we aim to uphold here at Konica Minolta Business Solutions (UK).

Janice Thomas, HR Operations Manager, Konica Minolta Business Solutions (UK) Ltd

The experience of working through a tribunal case alongside ESP’s team, having ongoing support throughout, and seeing the power of our investment in action has been a fantastic experience.

We might not speak to them every day, but it’s reassuring to have such peace of mind from a legal perspective, as well as having a wealth of documentation and information at your fingertips. They feel like intuitive friends who can read between the lines, listen and understand to what we want to achieve as a company and help us to make the right decisions to protect the future success of the firm, alongside our employees’ interests.

We have strong family values and can feel the same thing through ESP, regardless of their growth and remits too.

Gemma Clements, HR Director, Golfbreaks

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.

Sian Myers, HR Operations Director, Countryside Properties

I would wholeheartedly say that ESP are crucial in helping us make the right decisions. We have had to make many difficult management decisions and ESP help take the stress out of doing this.

The business now has more people, has greater complexity and has gone through a couple of restructures and a few challenging employment tribunals issues. ESP help us manage all of that.

If we hadn’t chosen ESP as our partner, our options would have been to employ in-house or use one of the large legal firms. Hiring would have been more expensive and wouldn’t have given us the breadth of knowledge ESP delivers. With a large legal firm, you don’t have the peace of mind they are at the end of the phone when you most need their advice. Working with ESP, we have that level of service and responsiveness the business needs.

Chris Brooks, Managing Director, Symatrix Ltd

The consistency of the company’s advice, as well as its continued availability has proven invaluable in the years we have worked together. Although we may not need to speak to ESP on a regular basis, knowing the team is there when we need to, is incredibly reassuring.

The structured processes and access to advice quickly and easily have assisted me greatly, while the work around unplanned events – such as a redundancy programme – is something which cemented ESP’s place within our organisation. Furthermore, it also gives the rest of the staff that reassurance that any situations are being addressed properly by some of the best employment lawyers in the UK.

Jonathan Eales, Operations Director, The Boys' Brigade

We’ve been incredibly impressed with the way ESP has dealt with any query, the advice given, availability of the lawyers and the relationships we have built. The rapport is fantastic and ESP feels like a genuine extension of our own team, which helps to foster open discussions about likely outcomes, practicalities and risk. In turn, this allows us to make sound judgments accordingly.

In short, the level of service, quality and breadth of resources available is excellent and the offering is competitively priced.

Louise Nuttall, Head of HR, British Computer Society (BCS)

Working with ESP has been a positive experience. The ESP team is quick to respond to all manner of queries – even if it is only to acknowledge receipt. They actively encourage open conversations about how we are finding the ER case management system, MyHRCases, as well as potential areas for ongoing development in order to make the service more impactful for us – something you would not ordinarily expect from a HR software provider.

Lorna Wrigley, Head of Engagement, Broker Network

Initially, I did not believe they would be able to deliver everything they promised, but ESP have exceeded my expectations. 

When I was promoted to HR manager, with responsibility for all HR within the business, I really appreciated how ESP cared about me personally and understood the challenges and responsibilities I faced.

Key to the relationship has been Nina Robinson, my dedicated employment lawyer, with whom I’ve had day-to-day contact discussing employment law advice. I love how Nina ‘gets’ what I’m trying to do and gives appropriately tailored advice for our business. From such close contact, I now feel more empowered to deal with issues myself and take on the bigger projects that I know will have a major impact on the business.

Joanne Shaw, HR Manager, Antler Ltd - February 2017

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 ESP is so prompt, if an employment-related situation arises, it is dealt with very quickly.

Wendy Rushton, HR Business Partner, PACEY - June 2017

As far as we are concerned ESP are definitely our Employment Law Firm of the Year. Although we have not worked with ESP for that long, I feel that the quality of their advice and support and the model that they operate has significantly changed our relationship towards the legal profession.

Sometimes, involving a lawyer is regarded with apprehension, sometimes with unfriendliness and often with a sense being the port of last resort, but our experience is that ESP doesn’t fit that model and they have definitely become our first port of call.

We enjoy our interactions with them and appreciate the in-depth expertise they provide. The confidence that has developed as a result really adds value to the support that we can bring to problem resolution in the work place.

Hugh Stewart, Group Head of Human Resources, Hydrock Group Ltd - January 2020

We can't praise the services of Sarah Dillon and the legal advisors at ESP highly enough. They always act with speed, efficiency and calmness, which reassures us 100% that we made the right choice to partner with them for legal advice. We have no hesitation in highly recommending them, and glad we made them our first choice for legal services. Thank you so much for supporting us with many key issues and ensuring the process has been collaborative and painless.

ESP have helped develop and upskill our staff with every conversation we have had, spending time to ensure we reach the end result as a partnership.

Karen Wilkinson, Shared Services Manager, Keepmoat Homes

Being a large healthcare organisation that has seen significant growth over the last two years, we were exploring systems that would enable us to monitor and manage all our ER casework. We needed the system to be easy to use and for it to allow the HR team to have visibility and be able to monitor how cases were progressing. That's when we found ESP's ER case management system – MyHRCases.

We have been using MyHRCases for nearly 12 months now and have been delighted with the both the simplicity of use, but also the support we have received from the ESP team. 

Our HR operations team use the system every day to log new cases and monitor ongoing cases. The dashboard offers a quick summary of the number of open cases, the number of new cases in the last 30 days and the average duration of matters that been archived in the last 30 days. It also categorises the number of cases by matter e.g. sickness absence and ill health or disciplinary. This is very useful when preparing reports for senior management and the Board.

The reporting function is very easy to use and allows us to categorise cases by region and unit which enables our HR advisers to produce weekly reports to keep the management team up to date on progress.

We particularly like the ‘actions’ feature which allow us to assign actions that need to be completed and allows us to set an action date and to send an email when due. This is particularly useful for the HR team to remind managers when follow up on cases is required to ensure we are moving swiftly through the cases. 

We have piloted the system with some of our service managers where they use the system directly to enter details of any ER matters in their services. This will allow them to update in real time and will eradicate our current system of sending in weekly trackers. The HR team will have oversight of all the cases.  

We are very impressed with the support we have received, and it is great to partner with an organisation who are genuinely interested in improving their product to best meet customer needs. ESP are continually improving the system following feedback and are keen for their customer base to work with them collaboratively to support with improvements. They have generated bespoke reports to extract the information from the system that we specifically require, however, the reporting tool in the system is really easy to use.  

Being able to save all documentation relating to a matter on the platform ensures easy accessibility and, should the case need to be referred for legal advice, enables the case history and all documentation to be sent at the push of a button.

In summary, we are delighted with the system and more importantly with the support we have received from ESP.

Manda Targett, Group Head of People, Salutem Healthcare Ltd

ESP's ER case management system, MyHRCases, is integral to the data protection of our HR cases across the Bravo Group. 

Due to our multi-site location and HR Business Partner activity, the system provides us with a safe place to retain sensitive people data, essential to meet GDPR compliance and SM&CR regulation in line with the FCA. We have found that MyHRCases has enabled multi-site HR Business Partnering ensuring that any member of the team can step in to oversee of pick up cases as required. 

As the Group HR Director, I have found the system particularly useful for board reporting and analysis of our ER cases, helping to identify trends as well as enabling me to oversee the activity of business partnering with a comprehensive outline of each case.

Clare Wakeford, Group HR Director, Bravo Group

Oasis Graphic Co is a small business with a big heart, a staff count of under 30 very creative and passionate people, with only two or three individuals managing HR as an addition to their main roles. We have been working with ESP for over 8 years and they have provided tremendous support throughout.

During this time, ESP have supported and advised us through a range of different situations; from the day-to-day management of the employees, to a business wide contract roll out and staff consultation process, as well as some more delicate, complex and challenging issues. As a non HR professional I can be confident that ESP will provide solid and sensible advice, helping me to take a few steps back to move forward. 

In a small business everything counts, everyone is very close and as such there is nowhere to hide during challenging times. It has often been the case that ESP's guidance and support brings clarity to a situation, taking the emotion out and focusing us on reaching a resolution.

Recently I attended another Mock HR event and the team at ESP have done it again. A really well thought out and well presented seminar. Peter explained how he sees ESP as an extension of our own HR department and I could not agree more. That is exactly how I feel. At the event there were HR professionals at various levels and, from my perspective, I took a lot from the event and none of it went over my head. In all, for me, it was pitched perfectly. Thanks to all at ESP for this and your continued support.

Andy Delpech, Operations Director, Oasis Graphic Co.

We have been working with ESP for about six months now and the team, specifically Lucy and Sarah have been wonderful. They actually feel like an extension of our HR team rather than a third party. What really works for us is their availability, their ability to listen and understand the situation followed by a considered approach to options, actions and next steps. They are not risk adverse as many third parties can be, however they balance this by explaining any potential risks or consequences, allowing us to make an informed decision. They have taken the time to get to know our team and our business. For us their support and advice is truly valued.

Kerry Crowther, VP Global Human Resources and People Development Director, Marie Stopes International

We have been supported by ESP for a number of years now and we have always received top notch service in a manner that is clear and easy to understand. This is especially important when we have to relay that information to our management teams.

I think the relationship we have is really good for my team and our learning but I also know, from a business point of view, you have our best interest as a customer at heart. That’s why I recommend you to others both through my professional and personal network!

Dawn Richards, Head of Human Resources, Andrews Property Group

We have a long-standing relationship with ESP. The online portal is hugely valuable and the solicitor support is very personable and pragmatic. Everyone is extremely helpful regardless of who you speak with and we are very grateful for the support and how this complements our HR service.

Joanne Shippey, Head of HR, Pure Retirement

The speed of response, quality of advice/support and personal touch provided by experienced lawyers at a fraction of the cost, is an incredibly valuable resource to HR professionals.

My legal advisors provide support, excellent advice and act as a sounding board. I would have no hesitation in recommending the services/resources offered by ESP.

Emma Hanney, Head of Human Resources, FE Financial Express

As an experienced HR professional I have found the advisory and website support provided by ESP to be first class. Having a direct telephone and email access to my own personal specialist employment solicitors as and when I need it really compliments the knowledge and actions that I need to undertake on-site. This ensures we have complete peace of mind and that we are protecting our legal position, especially when we want to take a tough commercial stance with employees.

Rita Culbertson, Director, Linkline Express Service Ltd

We would highly recommend ESP and their consultative approach. We have used our personal legal advice team on several occasions and their advice and guidance is invaluable, no question is too small!

Carole Wiles, Operations & Marketing Manager, Pentagon Consulting Ltd

I’m very happy to have such a friendly and reliable group of people on the other end of the phone to give help and advice when needed. The customer portal is also very easy to use, very informative and extremely useful!

Jessica Hurp, Head of Finance and HR, Support Revolution

ESP have been our ‘silent partner’ for some time now, supporting our Head Office staff, but a recent significant issue demonstrated the true value of the ESP service. We found ourselves well placed to deal with the issue, having adopted the standard policies and procedures provided by ESP in the past.

My legal advisor was brilliant, walking me through the legal and moral aspects of the case, providing pro-active and timely advice to bring the situation to a satisfactory, early conclusion whilst being both personable and accessible throughout, which are difficult attributes to put into any sales brochure – would recommend this service to all.

Greg Markham, Trustee and Director, Institute of Healthcare Engineering and Estate Management - July 2018

We have been using ESP since late last year and I find Lucy Gordon absolutely brilliant!

I love the WE partnership when providing us with guidance and Lucy's advice is never just an answer to the question, but an explanation from a legal perspective, so that I know the answer and also the reasons behind it.

I learn from each conversation and you are helping me develop in my role hugely.

Thank you so much Lucy and ESP for providing such a great service!

Raji Sandhar, Talent Adviser, QA Ltd - July 2018

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