PAC-AAY Merger case study


Hilary Barnard provided extensive consultancy support for the merger between PAC (formerly Post Adoption Centre) and After Adoption Yorkshire (AAY) – between December 2013 and October 2014.  Both working as adoption support agencies, PAC focused on London and the South East, and AAY on Yorkshire, the North West and the North East.  PAC and AAY provided specialist social work and counselling services, and had a combined turnover of £1.3 million when they merged in October 2014.


Sharing similar values and outlooks, both organisations saw how quickly the adoption environment has been changing and how their service users would benefit from one national organisation.  Merger provided the opportunity to bring together the talents of two skilled and experienced workforces, and to realise potential synergies for greater organisational efficiency and effectiveness.  The merger could greatly strengthen the governance of the organisation with deeper and broader skills to support the merged organisation compete and collaborate.

Hilary was commissioned by both PAC and AAY to be the trusted adviser and project manager for the merger.  He advised PAC and AAY on a shared structure for joint decision making to give impetus to the merger process, and drafted a Memorandum of Understanding which they agreed.   He reviewed the income generation and fundraising capacity and capability of both organisations, advised them on the most appropriate merger model to follow, enabled the two organisations in defining terms for branding the new organisation, guided the due diligence process, advised on strategic and business planning, and facilitated the shadow Board of the merged organisation in building understanding and shared practice. 

Hilary worked closely with the Chief Executives and Chairs of Trustees of both organisations throughout the merger process, including helping to shape staffing structures and leadership roles, advising on TUPE transfer and working with the lawyers on the detail of the transfer of assets agreement.

"Hilary gave us consistently good support throughout a complex merger process.  From the outset, he grasped the requirements of both organisations.  His knowledge and experience of many charity mergers were an invaluable resource that saved us time and money. 

"Hilary is easy to work alongside. He is very responsive, understands what is being communicated and pays attention to individuals and their needs.  So when he intervenes, he is best placed to ensure responsibilities are acted on, and any delays that can hold up the process are dealt with. 

"He earned and kept our trust throughout the merger process.  He managed extremely well the difficult task of acting for both organisations with neutrality, objectivity and accountability.  He ensured that the process was inclusive.  This has increased considerably our shared ownership of the new organisation.

"At a personal level, I feel that he has supported my learning through the process so that I can take my responsibilities as Chief Executive of the newly merged organisation with even greater confidence and assurance." 

Peter Sandiford, Chief Executive, PAC-UK



The merger has produced an exciting new organisation, PAC-UK, with great potential to grow and develop on a sound financial and organisational footing.  

The merged organisation starts with the considerable advantage of strong leadership and governance facing outwards to meet the needs of service users and complex challenges of the adoption environment.  

The merger process has succeeded in adding value and strengthening services to families, children and adults who can benefit from the services that PAC-UK provides.