First impressions of European Care’s head office is a warm, friendly, multi cultural work force with a relaxed attitude; which is rather pleasing given the fact that European Care is the 5th largest provider of care in the UK.
Its Friday lunch time and the traffic in London is as usual manic.
I’m a few minutes late but so is Anoup Treon (Chairman).
David Perry (Vice Chairman) greets me like an old friend and with the skill of a good politician puts me at ease immediately, offers me a sandwich and a drink and gives me a run down on the company.
He describes his background and working relationship with European Care, in a reasonable measured way. This is part of his job. Dealing with the press and putting the right message across.
I am aware of this the whole time I’m there. The press are rarely invited in.
Anoup Treon is a whole different kettle of fish. He strides in with an air of command. He’s cross but he doesn’t forget to apologise for his lateness. He can afford to be late but it’s very apparent that despite his position within the Group, he still knows that manners maketh the man.
I worked for a company whose managing director thought it entirely appropriate to be up to 2 hours late and never once apologised. Smart suits and over indulgence in aftershave didn’t hide his inability to deal with staff or customers-He could learn something from Anoup Treon!
Anoup Treon wanted to know why people had written on www.careindustrynews.co.uk that they were unhappy at European Care or had been treated badly.
Worse still why are there so many questions about the financial side of the company?
I haven’t come for an argument, I reassure him. I want to hear about the company and what they’re plans are.
European Care is the 5th largest provider of care in the UK. They employ over 5,200 people. They cover a range of needs for over 4,500 which includes residential care for over 3,500 elderly people as well as learning difficulties, assisted and supported living, brain injury and children.
It’s taken 10 years of hard work to get to this point. They have a Board of Directors which includes highly respected individuals with valued opinions and experience including the recently appointed CEO, Ted Smith, and CFO, David Manson, (previously Chief Executive and CFO of Craegmoor respectively and both instrumental in the strategic turnaround and sale of Craegmoor in 2008 and 2011).
They are responsible to the usual regulators throughout the UK and they have plans which include large investment for the future. They’re not going away any time soon!
David Perry explains the awards ceremonies that they have held and sponsored and their plans for the future in England, Scotland and Wales. This is certainly something many other care groups should consider after all it means you are recognised within the company you work for and suitably rewarded.
It encourages staff stability and less staff turnover.
Many other award ceremonies are simply money making events with very little interest in the care sector and the hard work involved-No matter what they claim. They sell you a table and low and behold a member of your staff is a winner!
A company award ceremony is both a great marketing idea and good for HR but it’s also giving something back to the people who work so hard.
I get a run down on company policy and it’s interesting to say the least. Without exception all members of staff are advised that as part of their contractual obligation they are required to ‘Whistleblow’ in fact if there are any circumstances where the employee is uncomfortable about something they’ve seen or heard they must report it.
All reports are investigated and David Perry personally oversees this.
As he says they are responsible to the residents, their families and staff.
With over 5,200 staff it’s impossible to legislate for a rogue member of staff but with an ‘Open door’ policy the board hope to encourage all staff members to utilise this open approach and prevent anything like the terrible ‘Castlebeck’ incidents occurring.
The stories that have circulated since the Panorama programme have potentially affected many care operators but European Care were already being proactive in reassuring all those people they are responsible for that they will do everything in their power to prevent any such terrible outcomes under their watch.
European Care wants to tell the positive side of care; with huge plans for the future and an increasing work force they are also aware of government cuts causing difficulties in the future.
As Anoup says ‘Our first priority is always those that we care for. Other than that, the board is happy, the investors are happy and the banks are happy’.
That’s all that matters. They remain fully confident about the continuing financial success of the company.
Spoken like a man who turns up for work at 7am and has his finger on the pulse of his company at all times.
I’d like to thank David and Anoup for their time.