Case studies

Action for Children



  • Management Accountant
  • Financial Planning and Business Support Manager
  • Assistant Accountant (Financial Planning)

Client profile

Action for Children is a large children’s charity aimed at protecting, helping and supporting vulnerable children and young people, and their families, in the UK. The charity operates over 475 services across the UK, helping a combined total of 368,648 children in 2019 and 2020.


Robertson Bell was delighted to engage with Action for Children in December 2020 to work on business-critical roles, following an organisational restructure. Our consultants have worked with the charity since 2012, building on an already strong and positive relationship. For the most recent roles, our consultants liaised with the main contact, the Head of Financial Planning and Analysis, who was at the time new to the organisation and the charity sector as a whole.

The consultative and collaborative process between our consultants and the client meant that Robertson Bell could effectively source and select the most qualified candidates for the roles.

Considerations and challenges

  • Encouraging talent into Watford for work was an important consideration that required extensive research and discussion with candidates
  • Candidates are often reluctant to move roles, particularly during periods of change or uncertainty
  • Salaries for these roles were a core challenge due to the competitive marketplace and it was important to communicate that Action for Children has a number of additional benefits and ongoing employee support initiatives


Our consultants worked closely with Action for Children to build strong profiles for each role, which allowed us to secure high-calibre candidates for the roles and their varying seniority levels. The client was seeking candidates who were at least part-qualified, who could fulfil the roles and hit the ground running. Robertson Bell was able to utilise a broad range of assets and our wide network to match the demands of the assignment.

As well as making use of our extensive in-house database of professionals working within the sector, our consultants developed a targeted advertising campaign that ran across a range of job boards. At first, a blind advertising campaign was launched across job sites and social media, which opened up the opportunities to a wider pool of potential talent.

For the Management Accountant and the Financial Planning and Business Support Manager roles, which had specific and niche requirements, we turned to headhunting to source in-demand and highly experienced talent. For the Assistant Accountant role, there was a much larger talent pool, therefore it was important here to take the time to understand each candidate’s genuine interests and soft skills, in order to determine whether they would be the best match for the role.

Many of the high-quality candidates that our consultants identified were already in roles, and were passive members of the job market. We therefore needed to reassure candidates that while the job market is a challenging environment, Action for Children is a very stable organisation that is on an upwards growth trajectory and making multiple key hires. It was important to communicate that this was a very exciting and ambitious time for the charity, and employing new talent would be a key driver in that journey. A crucial point to mention to candidates was that this was a significant time for the charity, and these roles were opportunities unlikely to arise again.

While the topic of salary can be challenging, it was important that our consultants communicated clearly and transparently the entire package. This included flexibility, work-life balance, unique high street discounts and a generous pension scheme, that sometimes isn’t offered as widely in the commercial sector.

The unique sector-specific insight of our lead consultants proved invaluable in identifying and engaging the hard-to-find talent with the appropriate expertise and experience.


Our consultants managed the large virtual selection process without compromising the integrity of the experience for either client or candidates. All campaign assets for the roles delivered a very strong response and were particularly effective in attracting a significant number of high-quality candidates.

Our consultants created a core shortlist of candidates which matched the criteria for each role and offered support and advice with the filtering and interview processes. With all placements, Robertson Bell includes an additional summary of soft skills and abilities to supplement CVs which brings applications to life and maintains high customer service quality.

The staff at Action for Children are settling into the new structure well. Due to the commitment our consultants put into the client relationship, Robertson Bell is one of the top agencies Action for Children partners with, and has successfully worked on its recruitment campaigns to a high standard within the charity’s financial sphere including the following roles:

  • Payroll Officer
  • Senior Financial Accountant
  • Senior Finance Business Partner
  • Finance Business Partner
  • Finance Officer (Accounts Payable)
  • Corporate Finance Business Partner
  • Accounts Receivable & Accounts Payable/P-Card Manager

This demonstrated our ability to guide and support Action for Children to select the right candidates for the roles and maintain a high level of communication throughout the process to ensure motives, needs and requirements were understood.

The value of working with a recruitment specialist was highlighted particularly well here, as our consultants were able to work in a collaborative manner to deliver a well- executed and successful campaign. By making use of our existing network of highly skilled candidates and far-ranging resources, Robertson Bell is positioned as a leading supplier with Action for Children and the third sector with unrivalled access to the talent that our clients need, when they need it.

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