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Edinburgh & The Lothians

Ciara McGovern and Ian Pilbeam

Ciara McGovern and Ian Pilbeam

HR and Health & Safety for Local Businesses

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We started using HR Dept in April this year and their support has been phenomenal. I am keen to create a supportive and well managed organisation and to give managers across the organisation the tools and confidence to create great teams - HR Dept have been integral to that. They respond quickly with clear advice; they are on site at the drop of a hat if we need them; they deal with the complex situations; and they help us plan to be a better organisation. Would absolutely recommend.
Jane Devine, Four Square
Fantastic HR Company with outstanding staff and support. Knowledgeable and responsive to all HR issues.
David Tod, Full Circle Graphics
Working with the HR Department has literally transformed my business! No more stress! The team here at Middlebrooks are getting ever greater clarity over all things HR!
Claire Middlebrook, Middlebrooks Business Recovery & Advice
Ian, Ciara and the team at The HR Dept Edinburgh have given us a first class service. They listened to what we needed, came up with a service that suited us perfectly and they are a pleasure to work with. On top of this they have great training and networking events. I would highly recommend them.
Valerie Wishart, Beyond The Numbers
A friendly and knowledgeable HR service that deal with the issues, without fuss
John Dunney, Braidwood Graham
Ian & his team give us incredibly valuable advice. Super professional and helpful in an approachable manner. Highly recommended
Denise Cheuk
Would highly recommend!
Emma Tulloch, Twenty-Seven
HR Dept helped us with some consultancy work in early 2018, and provided us with helpful, hands on support, which was exactly what we required. Their practical approach and expert knowledge helped us to successfully complete our project effectively.
Catherine Bell, Mearns & Company
Xpress have worked and been associated with the HR Dept since they set up several years ago. Headed up by Ian and his team, we have always found the team to be highly knowledgeable and helpful in all areas of "HR" as well as being very "Quick and Efficient" in coming up with a required HR solution.
Paul J Wilson, Xpress Recruitment
Great organisation to work with. Supports businesses not only to keep up to date with Employment and H&S legislation but as an extension of the internal team.
Michelle Reid, Institute of Occupational Medicine
We are just about to open a traditional village pub, a daunting task on it's own, but the best thing we done was employ The HR Dept Edinburgh to deal/assist with all our admin employment items, They have taken a huge amount of worry away from us by taking all of this on board. They are always just a phone call/ email away, very efficient, helpful and professional - a pleasure to deal with. Nothing is too much trouble.
Michael Pickard
Ian and the team at HR Dept are brilliant. I would be totally lost without them. They provide total expertise and peace of mind in a friendly and approachable way. If you are a small company with employees I can't recommend them more highly.
Jeanette Hamill, Hamill Decorating Services
Our company has been working with Ian and the team at HR Dept for almost 3 years now. They have been a real asset to our business during this time and I can honestly say one of the best external support partners I have ever worked with, professional, responsive and extremely knowledgeable.
Louis Stedman-Bryce, , Beyond Homecare
Ian and his team have been valuable partners to LEWIS since the very start. Always on hand to offer great advice and a calming attitude to what can sometimes be stressful events.

I've always felt they've had our back and that's a really reassuring thing in a growing business
Barry Hynd, LEWIS Creative Consultants
Always on hand. Delighted to have the support of The HR Dept. They're always there with the answers.
Margaret Reynolds, Dogrobes
HR Dept - a fantastic partner
The quality of the support from HR Dept is second to none. They take the time to get to know your organisation, which means they can give a bespoke service. They have gone above and beyond to offer support to our member organisations who have benefited immensely from having direct access to professional HR advice made easy to understand and implement.
Aileen Tulloch
Excellent Professional Service
Excellent Professional Service From everyone we have dealt with at HR Dept with a special mention to Ian Pilbeam and John-Paul Devine who have supported us in the last year. Highly recommend HR Dept to any company who wants a professional quality service that delivers what they say the will.
Euan Hall, Managing Director, ETS Ltd
Very Impressed
Ian and his team have been a great asset to our company. Training, hand books and all advice has been first class. No hesitation in recommending the HR Dept to others.
Mitchell Glass
Excellent pro service.

Great service and value from the company. On the occasions we have need to be in contact they have been very quick and professional to assist and guide. A must for a small business.
Paul A
Ian was very knowledgable and professional in the way all HR matters were handled.
John Davidson
Training with Ian at the HR Dept. is an absolute pleasure and the interactive nature of the courses and seminars I have attended have been the perfect format for me to take away great advice and knowledge from each session, meeting great people from extremely different business backgrounds but who share similar issues in their day to day lives
Claire Wishart
All businesses need to have HR Dept as part of their team. Cannot recommend Ian highly enough
HR Dept are a real trusted component of our business , they bring real expertise and practical advice to living situations which require fast responses. Don't hesitate to get them on your team
Trevor Geraghty
The HR Dept has provided excellent service - available when needed, and sound advice leading to pragmatic solutions.
John Stuart
I am very happy to recommend The HR Department to other small businesses needing HR support. The team is very approachable and friendly and having someone on-hand to assist with personnel issues and give advice and support is an invaluable help for a small business.
Catherine Franks
I often hear people complain about how difficult it is to manage staff and keep them all pointing in the right direction especially when neither party seems aligned in goals and expectations. We have been there, so I can recommend Ian and his team wholeheartedly. They will reduce your legal risks and ensure that you are following HR best practices for taking care of one of your most important assets, your staff.
Ally Hollins-Kirk
We have been working with Ian and his team over the last six months to complete a restructure after buying out a business and I can honestly say they are more than a simple HR consultant, they have become a valued member of our team, albeit on an ad-hoc basis. They spent time learning our business, our goals and offered 1st class support to help us achieve them. It really feels like we have our own HR team in the business who are there when you need them, ready to help and advise but at a fraction of the overhead cost.

Alan Sanderson, Electrical Testing Services Limited
We asked for support from the HR Department as our company moved into employing salaried staff. We wanted to make sure we got this "right". Ian and his colleagues were knowledgeable and approachable and gave us clear information and documents to make sure we met all legal requirements. What we appreciate in the HR Department is being able to meet someone local and knowledgeable who makes time to answer any questions, however small. This leaves us feeling confident that we haven't missed anything that could cause us problems.

Helen Forrester, Play Therapy Base
Ongoing advice from the HR Dept has given us the confidence to manage and grow our team, secure in the knowledge that our HR practices are up to date and comply with legislation. Knowing that I can call the HR Dept for advice whenever we have an issue gives me peace of mind to concentrate on making great chocolate instead of worrying about HR matters. We never expected to grow our team this big and managing people is one of the most difficult parts of our job, I highly recommend the HR Dept’s services if you run a small business and have a team to look after.

Alastair Gower, Chocolate Tree
The free session was invaluable: as the Chair I received quality advice without the need to get financial approval from the Trust in advance. The session at the DTAS conference was very informative and Ian made the HR simple and straightforward for a non- HR professional like myself to understand. It enabled me to complete my report with recommendations to the Trust. The additional employment support requested was delivered very promptly and has enabled us to deal fully with the issue that we had. I feel very positive about my experience dealing with the HR Dept and look forward to working together in the future for the benefit of WAT If? and our community.

Pat Mavor, Chair, Woolfords, Auchengray and Tarbrax Improvement Foundation (WAT If?)
Ian is a true expert in in providing first rate service and hands on support to small and medium sized businesses on human resources and employment law. Ian has the unique ability to make complicated issues uncomplicated and straightforward. Ian and his team is a necessary and cost effective service to ALL SME’s that needs HR support, keeping you safe and legally compliant. Prevention is better than cure. Having personally worked with Ian and his team, they are very friendly, approachable and present.

Miles Duncan, LinkedIn Expert Trainer
I did not fully appreciate just what an outstanding HR provider could bring to small business till I met Ian. I have been working with Ian for nearly a year now and have seen and heard first hand the level of customer service he provides for his clients - it is nothing short of outstanding.

Any clients or contacts I have looking for an HR professional to help them, whether it be tacking an HR issue or putting in place robust HR solutions, I send them straight to Ian. I have every confidence in Ian and his team dealing with situations swiftly and taking the pressure off the business owner from the first call.

Ian comes with my highest recommendation. If you need help with HR in your business Ian and his team at The HR Dept are the ones to go to.
Ewan Menzies Owner, Castle Strategy
When we encountered HR issues and needed expert help, we looked at two options: a major call centre provider and the HR Dept. Fortunately we chose right. Not only did we avoid being tied into a long contract, but by choosing Ian and the HR Dept we found a local provider who took the time to get to know our business and personally took responsibility for helping us resolve our problem. This was done quickly, at low cost, and we had great peace of mind in knowing that our interests were being looked after and that the advice we were getting was technically correct and tactically savvy. We now have an ongoing relationship with the HR Dept who keep us up to date on employment issues and we know that we can get high quality advice quickly whenever we need it. Highly recommended!

Sabrina Malpede, Owner, Smar-Azure Ltd
We recently enlisted the services of The HR Dept to tighten up our employment contracts and contractor agreements. We were delighted with the nature of the initial discussion, and quickly found Ian to be very friendly and extremely knowledgeable. During the process Ian made some excellent suggestions that we’d never have thought of, and just made it all feel so easy. The end result was an excellent, thorough and in depth suite of contracts. Not only that, but now we’re working together in the Auto Enrolment process - and making that seem easy too! We would have no hesitation in recommending the services of Ian and The HR Dept, an absolute pleasure to work with.

Dan Hay, Director, Alliance Creative
Ian has been extremely valuable as an expert who I can refer to my clients to, to ‘fill the gap’ of HR issues and guidance. He has jumped in for urgent guidance on a number of occasions and also offers a reliable on-going service. It means I can add value to my own practice by giving a referral to my clients for help with the increasingly difficult field of employment. I trust Ian and his team to look after my clients to the same standard I strive for.

Christa Cameron ACA, Accountant
When people problems emerge in a business it can be a massive drain, be that financial, emotional or time, and at these moments you need The HR Dept! I know a number of businesses who have employed The HR Dept to help them through situations and their calmness and extensive knowledge, coupled with a good dose of humour, has been the ideal solution each time. But don't just go to them when an awkward situation crops up. Ian from The HR Dept's tag line is "Preventing People Problems" so he'll help you get your HR policies and procedures in good order. A true professional.
Alan Smith, Business Coach, Action Coach
We have hugely appreciated working with Ian and The HR dept. It has given our organisation a reassurance and confidence in approaching HR issues and questions within our organisation.

Ian was always available and responded quickly and efficiently. Ian has a wonderful manner and he listens but is not afraid to speak plainly when required. The service he provides is bespoke and certainly suits the needs of our organisation suitably.

We look forward to continuing our working relationship with Ian at The HR dept. I cannot recommend Ian Pilbeam and The HR Dept highly enough. He has certainly transformed our HR needs within our organisation and filled our management with confidence.

Thank you

Joanne Friend, Vice Chair, First Step Management Committee
We have found Ian Pilbeam to be an excellent asset to our business. His attitude towards HR is in alignment with our company ethos of fairness and flexibility. We aim to retain our staff through good but fair policies and treating our people with respect. Ian does this and more keeping us right every step of the way. I would highly recommend Ian and The HR Dept.

Roddy Forfar, Managing Director, Aquarius Contact Centres (UK) Ltd
Ian Pilbeam is a refreshingly straightforward advisor of all things HR related. He has helped me through a minefield of issues this summer with very practical advice and guidance at a very reasonable fee and it is clear he has built a wealth of experience and skill over the years working in this field.

His passion for getting to the best solution for all parties and treating employment challenges in as human a way as possible ensures the positive results he achieves are lasting. He has now worked with me on a large range of challenges but also on improving the sustainability of my business employment success through refining existing policy and contracts.

I have no reservations in highly recommending his services to anyone with employees.

Chris Young, Managing Director, Taurus Gardening
I’ve known Ian for a good number of years both as a client of and advisor to TCMO. The HR Dept team and Ian in particular always offer commercially focussed HR advice which works ‘plain english’ solutions from the legalities and complexities of the law in a pragmatic and practical way. So much better than the online/call centre providers we have used before. I’ve no hesitation in recommending Ian and his team.

Rob Moore, Managing Director, The Career Management Organisation
Ian has helped us transform our HR function and make the transition from a small charity. He has helped increase our professionalism whilst being sensitive to the ethos of our organisation and the sector in which we operate. We have been able to develop a consistent approach to a more complex environment whilst retaining a family friendly working environment.
Cheryl Brown. Chief Executive, Midlothian Sure Start
I contacted Ian Pilbeam with an HR issue which was causing us serious concern. Ian quickly reviewed the sensitive situation and with his advice and within a very short time scale the matter was resolved without any recourse to ourselves.

Clearly, Ian has considerable experience in HR and has the benefit of being part of The HR Dept with the added value that they can offer. I would have no hesitation in recommending businesses liaise with Ian on any HR issues.
Kerr Simpson, Partner, Peter Graham & Partners
Ian has a breadth and depth of HR knowledge and a clear sense of how HR strategies and practices shape and help deliver organisational needs. His open style fosters a great team spirit and individual professional and personal development. He leads valuable and transformational projects with clarity, vision, structure and tremendous energy. I would whole-heartedly recommend Ian for his knowledge, insight, approachability, enthusiasm and professionalism.

Lee Ryan, HR Consultant, Fife Council
Ian has the knack of being able to spot where the real problems/challenges are and how to address them. He has an authenticity which makes him very easy and enjoyable to work with.
Dave Rippon, Practitioner, Engage for Success
“JP made a subject that can be dry really fun and easy to remember (hopefully)
Very relaxed delivery, knowledgeable.”

“Informative training, great practical and relaxed feel to training which helped with practical training.”

“Thank to John-Paul for keeping the session engaging – really good course.”

“Informative delivery style made everyone feel very comfortable. More fun than I was anticipating!”

From the team, DTA Scotland
What do you like best about the HR Dept?

Personal approach with in-depth experience sensitive to client circumstances. Clear guidance.
Business focus and solutions thinking. Agile and flexible approach to client needs.
Very approachable, friendly staff.
The professionalism, quick response time, the friendly approach to your customers.
Friendly professional service, which meets and exceeds the requirements of the customer, always willing to help/advise, nothing is too much trouble, it’s been a pleasure dealing with The HR Dept. (Iain Dickson)
Friendly, knowledgeable staff (Helen Carlin)
A very friendly organisation and always available at the end of the phone (Phil – Forth Blinds)
2018 , Customer Survey Answers
The help I received was invaluable especially for a small new business where costs need to be kept low and time is of the essence. The company covered everything and more and it was all done efficiently and was one less thing to worry about.
Veeann James, Coastal Kids
We were really impressed by the service that Ian and his team at the HR Department provided. They were friendly, clear, organised and very understanding of our situation as a small but growing business. They were able to introduce new methods and ideas to our our business, which has made significant improvement to how we now operate our HR. We couldn't be more happy with the tailored service they provided and would highly recommend the HR Department.
Neville Rae, Director, Old School Fabrications
We were fortunate enough to benefit from the HR consultancy service from the HR Department through East Lothian's Business Gateway. We were preparing to hire our first member of staff and found the service exceptionally useful. The team at the HR Department provided us with a comprehensive and high quality service, combined with a friendly approach, which gave us the confidence to start hiring and employing staff. This has helped our business grow significantly in the past year and we are looking to take on more staff in the near future.
Kevin Dempsey, Legionella Edinburgh
As a small business we cannot afford to employ an HR professional full time and for most of the time we have no need for one. However when we were going through our issues a couple of years ago it was invaluable to have someone there to guide us who was fully informed on where we stood. We fully endorse Business Gateway’s expert help scheme.
Tom Fraser, Deputy Principal, Chippendale School
Your service really helped us. You and your team were knowledgeable and quick to provide us with expert help. I would not hesitate to recommend your services to others.
Lindsay Baigrie, Dunbar Childcare
We were delighted to be able to access this support from HR Dept. Ciara got in touch really promptly and was extremely helpful, professional and supportive. She quickly helped us identify where we needed help, and gave very down-to-earth, easy to understand practical advice, as well as helping us overhaul our staff contracts and handbooks, policies and procedures, and to understand far better the detail of employment law as it relates to our organisation. It has given us confidence that we are now 'doing it right' and won't get caught out, giving a huge level of comfort and confidence both to management staff on the ground and to the Board.
Kate Darrah, The Ridge
I was looking for some help after making the decision to employ our first employee so didn’t know where to start. A friend of mine recommended getting in touch with Business Gateway who put us in touch with the HR Dept. HR Dept were extremely prompt at getting back to me and providing me with all of the necessary information and contracts I required to make sure I was fully compliant and legal with all necessary legislation. I since followed up with them a couple times for additional help which was provided with the same level of professionalism.

I would fully recommended Ian and his team and the service has been brilliant.
Ross Stisi, Managing Director, Stisi Group
As a small business owner it is absolutely vital to get the right professional advice for matters relating to HR. Ian and the team at the HR Dept providing that advice in a friendly, approachable manner. It was easy to understand my obligations and the represented excellent value. I wouldn't employ staff without them!
Carolyn Dunion
We particularly value the friendliness and responsiveness of the service and are confident that we have protected our organisation from potential risks and liabilities in these important yet complex areas. All documentation is easy to read and user friendly, and the advice we receive is in plain English. We thought we would not be able to afford such a comprehensive and valuable service, but it was much less expensive than we expected, and we now realise that we cannot afford not to have it.
Marilyn Jeffcoat, Scottish Arts Club
The free support provided by the HR Department as part of Business Gateway's Expert Help Scheme has been invaluable to our organisation, providing us with peace of mind that our procedures, paperwork and reporting meet all legal requirements. The HR Department provided such a responsive, friendly and tailored service that we have just employed them to act as our HR representatives on an ongoing basis.
Simon Glover, Mixer CIC
Many social entrepreneurs across East Lothian are grateful for expert help received from the HR Dept during the last few years and have had a fantastic experience with them. Ian and the team meet clients face to face where they can talk through individual needs such as working up suitable policies, producing staff handbooks and offering HR advice. The team are lovely people who offer a fantastic bespoke excellent service.
Elaine Gale, STRiVE
HR Dept is wonderful. Never lets you down and always reliable.
Dorothy Webster, Mid and East Lothian Chamber of Commerce
Great team here! always fast and reliable with all queries. I would recommend to anyone who runs a business.
Jay Fairgrieve, Ryze Adventure Parks
HR Dept are just like our own HR Dept but at a fraction of the cost of hiring our own team. We have over 150 employees and the help and the service, guidance and support we get from HR Dept is always fantasist and always spot on. We would recommend HR Dept to everyone.
Scott Fairgrieve, Ryze Adventure Parks
Great team of people who are extremely knowledgeable giving a great service! They find a great balance between having fun and getting the work done. Would highly recommend to anyone and everyone!
Rory Fairgrieve, Ryze Adventure Parks
I really enjoy Ian's talk at networking events.
Kenny Dalzell, BrightSkye
Put simply, this company and its employees are fantastic. If you run a business with staff and don't have an internal HR dept, you need to take the time and speak to the team at the HR Dept. The support and advice we receive relating to Employment and Health and safety legislation is invaluable. Make the call! If I could offer a 6th star I would. A company that deserves to do well.
Michael Cairns, Celsius Heating & Plumbing
Emergency First Aid - excellent course. Concise, relaxed, and well run.
Alan Stirling, Witherby Publishing Group
I work closely with Ciara and the support, assurance and advice is amazing! Ian and the wider team are superb also and offer the comfort that I require to free up my time to run the company. The networking events/training are also great.
Claire Taddei, Mortgage Advice Bureau