Our client was one of the UK’s largest care home providers, a PLC business with an annual turnover of almost £1bn.
Unfortunately, this business fell into financial difficulties and the size of this project was so large that a global management and turnaround consultancy was hired to oversee a restructure and eventually wind the business down.
Furthermore, one of Europe’s most respected turnaround consultants was appointed as Chairman of the restructure project.
The debt recovery aspect of this project was huge, not just because of the volume of individual debts, which was made up of over 35,000 invoices, but because of the sensitive nature of the debtors. The debtors fell into one of two groups:
- Private paying consumers. Their clients were elderly care home residents or their families and emotions were naturally expected to be high.
- Local authorities and NHS trusts. This meant public funds were at stake so there was concern over negative publicity, particularly in the face of government budget cuts.
The restructuring chairman decided that what was needed was a firm of solicitors that could efficiently manage this major debt recovery project in an extremely sensitive and cost effective manner.
We advised the committee that, in our opinion, a comprehensive and proactive system would be the best way to recover the most amount of money and create the least amount of negative publicity.
The Chairman had worked with many international and City law firms in the past, thus he needed convincing that our system would work better than his alternatives.
After meeting with the financial director, collections manager and legal counsel, we had gathered enough information to build a potential bespoke system for the client.
This system included:
- Numerous options to answer common questions raised and to make the best decision on our next steps. This guaranteed consistent quality control.
- An FAQs sheet provided debtors answers to the most likely questions about the demise of the health care provider and the debt recovery project. This is vital when dealing with people in an emotional situations.
- A response and payment form to make it was easy as possible for debtors to make their payments.
At the core of this was our online case management system storing all information and processes relating to the client’s debt recovery cases. In line with all the systems we build, it uses both automated responses and manual interaction to decide the best next step for collections.
After reviewing our suggested recovery process and system, we were given 1,000 debts to collect as a test. They were delighted with the results and gave us more debts for further testing. In these early stages we regularly reviewed the processes, added to the FAQs list and wrote different response to issues as they became apparent. As this system evolved in the early stages, becoming more efficient, we added extra information and options to the case management system to make debt collection quicker.
After only a couple of months, we were then asked to collect the whole debtor book, which contained over 35,000 invoices.
To manage this volume, we recruited a team of experts with the sole process of supporting this client. were given access to the group’s internal accounting and IT systems to deal with disputes and requests for information efficiently. The team was made up of seven full-time collectors, a team leader and it was entirely project managed by Nick Wells, a partner in our Commercial Litigation department.
We were given access to the group’s internal accounting and IT systems so we could deal with disputes and requests for information efficiently.
In total, we recovered a staggering £7.5m, considerably more than was ever budgeted for.
Why was it so successful?
We feel the success of this project was down to the bespoke system built for our client. Unlike most firms, we do not view debt recovery as a standard ‘factory process’ where a ‘one-size-fits-all’ mentality will be suitable for everyone.
We build systems based on the objectives and specifications of our clients’ businesses, which ensures that as much money is collected as possible.