General Practice NSW Ltd

FCB Workplace Law

Industry Focus

Health & Aged Care

Project Team:

Winding down a workforce: ending an era with grace.

The background

As part of a major policy reform, our client – a successful and highly regarded membership NGO – lost the entirety of its Commonwealth funding. This effectively left it without revenue and unable to continue operating beyond the end of its existing funding period.

As a consequence, and during a period of significant uncertainty, the organisation needed to:

  • transition its core service delivery functions to other industry bodies,
  • retrench the majority of its workforce,
  • guide and support its members through their own major workforce transitions and
  • finally, reconstitute itself as smaller, leaner advocacy-based representative body.

Our client’s workforce priorities included complying with its employee consultation obligations and minimising the risk of employee claims. Just as importantly, however, it wished to maintain the continuity of services to the broader community it supported, while reducing any negative impact on staff, members and other stakeholders.

The approach

FCB assisted the NGO’s leaders to plan and implement its workforce consultation and wind down strategies and supported it through a range of unplanned contingencies. The organisation also engaged FCB to:

provide education and assistance to members directly, helping them understand and transition their own workforces to the new environment and

assist its Board develop a recruitment and remuneration strategy for a new senior leader aligned to the organisation’s changed profile and geared towards securing new sources of funding.

The outcome

We are pleased to report that, even as the organisation farewelled the last of its program staff and wrapped up its client delivery obligations late in 2012, its members and staff remained actively committed and supportive of its ongoing industry representation and advocacy. Far from making legal claims or complaining about the process, the outgoing staff remained loyal, with one even commenting:

‘Thanks for keeping me updated through every stage of this process … if there ever was a “best practice” way of handling this you have demonstrated this in every stage of this process.’

After many years as a much-loved client of FCB, we are proud to have assisted this NGO and its leaders through a difficult period of major change. We are also thrilled that the organisation has now attracted an enormously talented new leader, and we look forward to watching it rebuild and redefine itself over the years ahead.