Case study: A merger completed in record time

The Novas Group and the Scarman Trust moved quickly when they decided to join forces.

The challenge

Last September, the Novas Group and the Scarman Trust began negotiations over a merger to form a new social justice charity.

Although the organisations, which tackle social disadvantage, were both doing well, they felt that collectively they could do even more.

"The merger gave us the opportunity to capitalise on the strengths of both organisations, share resources and expertise, and deliver a new vision that significantly takes forward our shared objectives on positively challenging the disadvantaged parts of our communities," says Gnosoulla Tsioupra-Lewis, chair of the Novas Group.

The process

The merger moved quickly, from negotiations in September to completion in December. Tsioupra-Lewis puts this down to the organisations' shared values and complementary activities.

"We spent less time on internal merger activities, which do not offer our customers any value, and more time getting on with service delivery and moving forward," she says.

On the advice of solicitors and board members, it was decided to transfer Scarman's activities to Novas, the larger, more complex body.

Maria Donoghue-Mills and Michael Wake, co-chief executives of the Novas Group, have retained their titles, while Matthew Pike, chief executive of the Scarman Trust, is executive director of the new organisation. Donoghue-Mills also puts the speed of the merger down to the charities' shared objectives.

The outcome

The Novas Scarman Group was formed in December last year, with the Scarman Trust retaining its shell while the final processes and transfer of work are tied up. The organisation will be listed on the Charity Commission's new Register of Mergers.

It plans to expand its Contemporary Urban Centres and take new approaches to community empowerment, as Tsioupra-Lewis puts it.

"It is exciting thinking about how we make use of all these bits of the jigsaw to take a cohesive approach to tackling disadvantage," says Donoghue-Mills.

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