Service Continuity with Seamless Staff Transfer for Emergency Call Services Provider

successful transfers
successful transfers

Company Overview

Blue Arrow is a long-standing recruitment service provider to this leading communications company, which serves homes and businesses in the UK & Ireland, as well as 180 countries worldwide. The business provides fixed-line services, broadband, mobile and TV products and services, as well as networked IT services.

Quality customer service and speed of response is central to the continued success of its Call Centre operations. Its contact centre advisors go to extraordinary lengths to help people stay connected and are trained in building rapport and trust, showing empathy and resilience to deliver a positive outcome on every call.

"We took over an incumbent supplier who had a 20+ year relationship with the client meaning a very complex TUPE transfer including many long-serving staff, with a variety of forms of employment contracts.”

- Eliza Coe, Business Change & Implementation Director, Blue Arrow

The Challenge

The client sought to rationalise staffing requirements for Emergency Call Services with other temporary and contingent staffing requirements under a single service provider, in order to simplify contract and relationship management.

The Emergency Call services were experiencing a surge in demand at the height of the pandemic, with the monthly volume uplift in calls exceeding 20% at times during the peak period. Service provision was complicated by spikes in demand and constant changes in staff availability. Additionally, the Call Centres were responsible for providing support to the Vaccine Helpline.

Core to the implementation of the new single-supplier service delivery model was the TUPE transfer of 450 Call Centre staff, all working to different contractual arrangements. The Blue Arrow Project Team included HR specialists who conducted thorough contract reviews to ensure the protection of existing employee agreements and rights.

The Client’s Call Centre staff were spread across nineteen different locations from Sevenoaks in Kent to the Midlands, North and Northwest of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. During the TUPE transfer, the recruitment team were asked to source an additional 200 staff, representing a 44% uplift in the workforce, to process the increase in volume of calls.

service continuity

The Journey

The implementation for the new contract was extremely complex, with demanding Covid-19 conditions requiring completion to very tight deadlines to avoid service interruption.

With the previous arrangements having been in existence over a twenty-year plus period, a significant number of the workforce held long term tenures of between five and ten years and in some cases up to fifteen years. The Implementation Team had to assimilate and manage the implications of up to four different contract types, each with their own allowances for holidays, pensions and other key benefits while simultaneously recruiting the additional 200 candidates.

The Project Implementation Manager engaged with all stakeholders from the outset, clearly defining roles, responsibilities, timescales and dependencies and worked closely with the client’s operations teams to manage critical aspects of the service switch to minimise disruption.

The transfer fell close to Christmas and with pandemic conditions elevating employee anxiety, reassurance was an important component in the communication mix.

Throughout this time, the Implementation specialists were supported by Blue Arrow’s central resourcing teams in managing the large volume of work to achieve critical targets and ensure ‘Go Live’ according to schedule.

service continuity

The Solution

Work on the contract commenced six weeks before the new supply arrangement start date to resolve critical issues and set in place key actions covering all 450 employees. Due to the vital nature of the call services being provided and the intricacy of employee contracts, extreme agility was essential in ensuring a timely handover from the previous recruitment services provider.

The existing Blue Arrow Account Management Team responsible for the supply of customer service staff was expanded to include a new dedicated structure to oversee Call Centre workforce needs. A specialist Implementation Team was put in place to expedite the service changeover and to lead the TUPE transfer process. Working on a 24-hour basis to fit in around the 24/7 shifts required to support the Emergency Call services operating hours, the Implementation Team liaised with the individuals concerned to ensure employee shift fulfilment was unaffected.

This was achieved successfully at a time when all parties were facing a change to remote working conditions and the introduction of new social distancing measures for Call Centre employees working on site. As part of the initial setup, initial screening interviews were conducted, followed by mandatory typing tests for speed and accuracy and concluded with in-depth situational interviews.

Blue Arrow’s technology platform was central to the process, enabling transferring staff to self-book consultations, complete on-boarding procedures and upload ‘Right to Work’ documentation at their convenience. Automated notifications ensured prompt completion within a two-week window. Those in isolation due to Covid-19 or on maternity leave were due to Covid-19 or on maternity leave were contacted to ensure a thorough consultation and TUPE transfer.

service continuity

The Results

The efficiency of Blue Arrow’s online technology-driven services and existing tenure as a staffing partner played a key role in bringing the expertise and resources needed to manage the complex and delicate TUPE transfer and the recruitment of additional staff. The thorough preparation and specialist resources deployed by Blue Arrow resulted in a seamless transfer with zero disruption to the client and its workers, delivering the continuity of service integral to the client and the nature of the work.

Initial briefings for all transferring staff were carried out within a single 24-hour period. All consultations were subsequently completed within two weeks, with the transfer period concluded after four weeks, effective November 2020. The Implementation Team successfully negotiated new contracts while reassuring anxious staff during the changeover period.

Ongoing management of Call Centre staff welfare is handled by the on-site team, while resourcing for new staff is delivered through Blue Arrow’s Customer Success Hub.

“The fact that our client felt comfortable executing such a large TUPE transfer in the midst of the 2020 pandemic is testament to our enduring relationship and their trust in us as a strategic supplier.”

- Bash Shah, National Account Director, Blue Arrow

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