We secured the the legal due diligence work on the proposed merger between St Vincent's Housing Association and Mosscare Housing Group, having worked for neither organisation before.

We were appointed by St Vincent's Housing Association and asked to complete the due diligence on Mosscare Housing Group during the autumn of 2016, alongside externally appointed financial advisors and St Vincent's Housing Association's own team undertaking operational due diligence. As Mosscare Housing Group was both a “traditional” housing association and had received four successive transfers of housing from Manchester City Council, some into a newly formed subsidiary - Mossbank Homes, the due diligence was less than straightforward. This included addressing risks associated with the TUPE transfer of different cohorts of public sector employees, environmental, title and planning matters, as well as long-term material procurement and contracting arrangements. We initially completed a scoping strategy to take into account key risks we were aware of in the housing association sector and St Vincent's Housing Association's risk assessments so that we then tailored our approach towards these key risks. 

At St Vincent's Housing Association's request, we expedited our due diligence work into one key risk area and then completed the remaining work under tight timescales, with the use of an externally hosted bespoke data room. We both identified previously undiscovered risks and agreed a methodology for managing such risks with St Vincent's Housing Association's officers and Mosscare Housing Group before presenting the proposed approaches to the St Vincent's Housings Association board. After further follow up work, we were able to present a positive supplementary report with timed action plan which has been used to prepare a comprehensive integration plan for the future.

St Vincent’s Housing Assocation recently appointed Anthony Collins Solicitors to undertake a legal due diligence exercise as part of proposed merger discussions with Mosscare Housing Group (another Manchester-based housing association), which covered all the main business activity and legal risk areas. This work dovetailed with wider financial and operational due diligence we were undertaking and completed in January 2017.  The team at Anthony Collins Solicitors completed the work extremely well, accommodating our request to expedite part of their work to cover particular high-risk areas and identifying some material, previously undiscovered, issues that we have now been able to effectively address and manage through the rest of the project. Their sector experience also enabled them to scope the work in a risk-based, proportionate way, which delivered a better value for money approach than we have experienced elsewhere. Their personal attendance at our board meetings also gave the board the opportunity to understand more deeply the issues identified and the confidence to address them in a proactive way. We would recommend Anthony Collins Solicitors for their due diligence work.
Charlotte Norman, Chief Executive, St Vincent’s Housing Assocation.