Listed Australian firm Slater and Gordon has reduced headcount by around 16% in the UK as it continues with its reorganisation, the company revealed today.
The firm’s annual report, posted on the Australian stock exchange this morning, confirmed it has 3,310 employees in this country across 25 locations, compared with 3,950 people employed at 28 locations at this point last year.
Slater and Gordon is in the midst of a major restructure of the business and has confirmed that office closures and reorganisations will be completed by the first quarter of 2017.
But the company has been reluctant to say how staff numbers will be affected by the changes. Today’s report is the first notification of the scale of the reduction in posts.
A spokeswoman for the firm said it had reduced numbers where there are duplicated roles in the business, but she stressed Slater and Gordon is hiring in areas such as family, serious injuries and business legal services.
The UK reorganisation was announced after a year in which the group reported net losses of more than A$1bn (around £600m) and underperformance in the UK, particularly in relation to personal injury and noise-induced hearing loss claims.
The annual report for the year ending June 2016 reveals that the value of work in progress decreased by A$89.2m (£53m), of which just under half is due to a decline in case volumes in the Australian and UK practices and the resolution of acquired work.
From next year the company, which purports to be the biggest consumer law firm in the country, will operate three specialised legal services divisions across the UK.
‘In the UK, performance in the first half of FY16 was significantly below expectations and a performance improvement programme was commenced,’ said group chair John Skippen.
‘This has involved ceasing operations in some locations and resizing the workforce. This component of the performance improvement programme will be substantially completed by early 2017.’
In 2015, the personal injury business Slater Gordon Solutions, which took on the acquired professional services division of Quindell, accounted for 6% of the group’s A$627.3m (£375m) income. That proportion has jumped to 50% of the group’s A$908m (£543m) turnover for 2016.
The Australian element of the business accounted for half the group’s turnover in 2016: today it accounts for 26%.
The company says its UK business has established a £300m annual turnover, which would place it comfortably in the top 20 firms in the country on revenue alone.
Total benefits paid to non-executive directors increased from around £282,000 to £434,000. Skippen’s total fees and benefits rose around 50% to £144,000.
The report notes that fees were increased in July 2015 to reflect the ‘additional workload and complexity arising from the SGS acquisition’.
The full-year remuneration for managing director Andrew Grech fell slightly from £393,000 to £381,000. The report shows Grech holds 40,000 shares in the company, which fell in intrinsic value from £85,000 in June 2015 to around £9,000 in June 2016.