Short Term – Projects

The following is a summary of a few of the short term specific projects that have been carried out for both business and personal clients. Do you have a specific task that you think you need help with? Please get in touch….

Genealogy research – The man with three names

‘Tell Ma I am just going for a haircut’ – With these words our subject deserted his family….. for the second time!

From the transfer of the herring fishing fleet from East London to Great Yarmouth in the second half of the 19th Century to the Australian Forces in World War 1 (during which time he is recorded as being in France and Belgium, yet fathering children in Australia….. ). Finally ending up in a Gentleman’s Retirement Home in Hampshire, our subject left a colourful trail which was pieced together for a personal client. The search was complicated by our subject using 3 names that we uncovered.

The icing on the cake was finding and introducing the three families that we know existed: Although too late for all but one of his children, his grandchildren have been able to find out who their grandfather was, and clubbed together to replace his headstone to reflect his colourful life.

Business – Set up a database

That’s what was requested by an East Devon recruitment company wanting to produce information for their investors on the progress of its applicants, who were mainly services leavers from a large local military base.

As a principally online business, the applicants logged their details into the company’s website, and those who applied personally were logged onto the same system….

The database already existed…. It wasn’t a job that needed duplicating so I suggested that they spoke to their website providers. A quick call to them established that it was no problem to devise an application that would provide the statistics required from the website database, and in easily transferable formats.

The shortest assignment ever…. !

Business – Franchise or Branches?

The customer was a busy photography studio combined with a retail image processing/printing outlet in South East London.

They had stumbled upon a simple formula for Photoparties – Simply a group came into the studio for a fun lifestyle shoot with lots of props and scenarios, refreshments, and above all FUN! Sales were generated from prints, plus a range of value added products that could be ordered.

Saturation point had been reached with the original studio – already expanded – at full capacity, and there was scope to expand the operation.

Working with the Owners, the implications and costs of franchising versus opening further branches were explored, and eventually it was decided to keep the operation completely in house, and open two further branches locally. The potential problems and costs were felt to be preferable to the legal expenses and difficulties attracting franchisees with sufficient capital to establish and run the franchise properly.

The Case of the Missing Cheese

A local cheese processor had entered into an agreement with a cheese importer to prepare and pack a large range of UK and continental cheese for supermarket customers, so – for example – 1 large Roquefort would come into the factory, and leave as 24 portions packed for the supermarket shelves.

Over the course of the first six months a considerable discrepancy – into 6 figures – had arisen on the stock of cheese, and as a dedicated task all cheese entering and leaving the factory had to be audited. A large number of spreadsheets – one for every variety of cheese – was set up to do this.

Firstly the receipt paperwork had to be sorted into some kind of order….. and this included tracing several miscellaneous boxes of paper which had been stashed throughout the factory. From the dates and batch number evidence it was usually possible to work out how many portions had been made of this cheese and reconcile that against invoices to the supermarkets.

Over the course of three weeks, Le Roulé increasingly stood out as the major source of the discrepancy. When this was discussed with the Production Teams it became clear that cutting Le Roulé was an almost impossible task, and indeed massive quantities had been skipped, but there had been no procedure in place to record it.

So the source of the loss was identified….. The next question was the legal ownership of the cheese… but that was another story altogether.

Genealogy research – Where did my Grandfather go? Do I have any cousins?

Another interesting case covering the North West and North East of England in which our client was the subject’s grand daughter. She supplied us with her grandfather’s family information in Carlisle, which included his death in the 1980s which she had traced. However, soon after her mother had been born in 1934 her grandfather had left the family home and nothing was known of him until our client had traced his death.

Through birth and marriage records a list of ‘suspects’ was produced, and one by one eliminated until just one was left, who had married in 1936 and lived in a house very near Newcastle Airport where he and his (bigamous!) wife had raised a family of three children.

Travel related to another project co-incidentally took me to that part of the work and I was able to spend a couple of days in the local record offices, and information gained there enabled me to supply the Client with a list of six living cousins who she was able to contact as her nearest blood relatives.

The question that remained unanswered was why he returned to Carlisle after the death of his second wife in 1979 having lived in Newcastle for 45 years.

A Family Business succession

Through a mutual contact a Father and Son business asked us to help smooth the path for the Father to retire from the family business and allow the Son to take complete control.

Part of the problem was that the Son had been a free spirit for a number of years, and had only joined the business five years before, and whilst he felt he still needed some assistance occasionally from his father, was keen to ensure that his father’s status with respect to the business was clearly laid out and understood.

Over the course of several meetings with both of them individually and together they were able to express their views in a constructive and guided atmosphere, and with input from their accountant a Retirement Agreement incorporating a favourable capital loan from Father to Son was agreed, and the terms of the Father’s consultancy role were clearly laid out.

After five years the work put in at this time has borne excellent fruit: The business has survived well under the Son’s management, with occasional but reducing input from the Father. Relations between the Son and Father remain strong – so often not the case in family business partnerships when major change occurs.

Complaint against a doctor

A 9am Monday morning appointment at a pain relief clinic became absolute agony for my client when the doctor she had arranged to see had clearly got out of bed on the wrong side that morning, leading to a very scared woman suffering threatening and boorish behaviour by a well built doctor.

Having made no progress on her own, I was engaged to approach the Health Authority to make a complaint on her behalf, and a meeting with the Health Authority was arranged to review the case.

Research suggested that this doctor had done this before and my client, her husband and myself met with seven healthcare professionals including the doctor in question.

Whilst unable to make progress on this specific unchaperoned incident, the incident was recorded, and when a few months later an incident was witnessed, the doctor was immediately retired from public clinics.