Milton Abbey is a small, independent school in the middle of Dorset for those aged 13-18. The school has a capacity of 300 students, with 250 pupils enrolled at the moment.
“The school has been up and running for about 60 years,” says Julian Litchfield, Bursar of Milton Abbey, "so in terms of an independent school it is actually quite young, and it relies totally on fee income to operate. The school includes Grade 1 and 2 listed buildings and is on a 76 acre site, in a conservation area and area of outstanding natural beauty, and so it can be a nightmare to manage from that perspective.”
Milton Abbey currently employs approximately 150 people, taking into account part-time and temporary workers.
It is the amount of staff with a variety of roles that causes the most HR issues. “We have a mixture of staff, from teachers right through to housekeeping staff, drivers and grounds men. This means there is a wide variety of staff on different types of contracts, and with any varied group of people you have a mixture of issues and problems that crop up from a HR perspective.
“Prior to Croner we dealt with HR issues internally and relied largely on our school solicitor for employment advice. There are two people here who deal with HR, myself being one of them as it falls under my responsibility as the Bursar. I also have a part-time administrator who supports me.” When it became apparent that the school was incurring significant expense through their lawyers, Julian looked to outsource, “we decided there must be a simpler and less expensive way of doing it- which is why we turned to Croner.”
How We've Helped
The Simplify system not only made the management of HR simpler; with the advice line attached, Julian now feels more reassured in his actions when dealing with an issue. “Predominantly we use Simplify for the management of day-to-day HR. The majority of interaction with Croner is via the advice line. Normally, it is just me using the helpline, but my HR administrator has been in touch on a couple of occasions. I would say I call up the advice line a couple of times a month.
“Normally I call up just for clarification on processes, if there is a particular issue I can call up and say: ‘this is what we are going to do, is that the right way of handling this or should we do something else?’ So it’s really for reassurance more than anything else.”
Julian’s preference is to establish a regular contact on a single issue, but has been impressed with the professionalism and expertise of the various consultants, and so feels comfortable dealing with any of Croner’s experts. “I like to go back to the same person if they are available, we are currently dealing with a restructuring issue, and it’s nice to go back to Kim Daubney who is working on that for us as it avoids any overlap or confusion. However, each of the consultants we’ve come across have been very helpful so I don’t feel like I have to go back to the same person if another consultant is available.”
“I would definitely recommend the system to others, particularly the advice line. The Simplify system is very helpful, but I am particularly reassured by the advice we get.”
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