The only certainty is uncertainty

Britain is set to leave the European Union in March 2019. Without a legally-binding agreement between the UK government and the EU, and a plethora of currently unknown trade, migration and regulation implications, the only certainty is uncertainty. To navigate this unsettling period, organisations must make a definitive choice about the approach they will take.


Regardless of the outcome of Brexit, it is imperative for organisations to be prepared and equipped to react as the situation evolves. This will mean more than preparing for the worst. As laws change and markets react, there may be new opportunities to capitalise on. Having full sight of your organisation and all its potentially vulnerable elements will ensure you are best-placed to respond to whatever lies ahead.


Understand the time, costs and extra processes involved in supply between the UK and the rest of the world post Brexit.

What could be at risk?

  • Supply of goods and services across EU/UK border
  • Increased tariffs/VAT on cross-border trade
  • Customs documentation required on EU/UK border
  • Suppliers or sub-contractors in your supply chain

Questions to identify your exposure

  • Does your supply chain involve raw materials or finished goods crossing the UK/EU border, or from a country that relies on an EU trade agreement?
  • How long could you provide for if there were border delays?
  • Do you have contingency or stockpile options?
  • What cannot be stockpiled and what is the contingency for this?
  • Are there business-critical products crossing the UK/EU border?
  • What would be the impact of the potential knock-on effects of Brexit such as fuel or food shortages?
  • What risks are there (reputational or otherwise) if you are unable to supply, even temporarily, post-Brexit?
  • Do you rely on subcontractors or suppliers?
  • Do you know your customs exposure risks?
  • Can you produce customs documentation that may be needed at the new border?
  • Do you operate across the Northern Ireland/Republic of Ireland border?
  • Will your buying and procurement decisions be impacted by Brexit?

Measures to take now

  • Risk assess your supply chain network including any 3PLs
  • Review safety stock and consider stockpiling, with prioritisation for business-critical products
  • Risk assess your subcontractors/suppliers’ supply chains and Brexit business continuity plans
  • Develop and test business continuity plans under scenarios
  • Understand future customs requirements and where responsibility for this would sit in your business
  • Undertake a market by market impact review e.g. Ireland/Northern Ireland
  • Develop a communication plan to customers and suppliers
  • Understand the potential Brexit impact on buying and procurement decisions


Ensure your workforce has the right to work. Put in place contingency plans for people churn due to Brexit.

What could be at risk?

  • Right to work EU/EEA staff in the UK, or UK staff in the EU/EEA
  • Ability to attract or move overseas talent in future
  • Changes to employment legislation
  • Employee morale

Questions to identify your exposure

  • How many EU/UK employees do you have, and where they are based?
  • Do you have any business areas that would be particularly badly affected by Brexit-related people risks?
  • How often do you undertake specific talent moves between the UK and EU?
  • Would employment legislation changes significantly impact your business? (e.g. EU working time directive, parental leave policies etc)
  • Have your suppliers/subcontractors got contingency measures in place to deal with HR impacts? (e.g. if using an outsourced cleaning, security, maintenance)
  • If you are relocating part of your operations due to Brexit, are you able to recruit local staff at the new location?
  • Are your employees worried about the impact of Brexit on them and/or your business?

Measures to take now

  • Risk review of your workforce
  • Understand supplier/subcontractor exposure and impact on your business continuity
  • Develop contingency plans around potential rapid churn/change
  • Agree on measures to support and protect your workforce of EU/EEA nationals in the UK and vice-versa
  • Assess impacts of potential HR legislation changes
  • Create a communication plan to inform and reassure your workforce

Gate One is helping our clients identify the elements of their organisations affected by Brexit to inform full impact diagnoses and allow them to agree their Brexit strategies. We are designing models for various Brexit scenarios and setting up delivery programmes for our clients. We also implement programme governance and develop custom reporting.



With a global supply chain including manufacturing in the UK and Europe, a high number of EU staff in the UK, and a heavily-regulated industry, our client recognised the magnitude of the impact Brexit could have on their organisation.

Whilst key business areas understood their strategy, there was limited structure in place to execute it, a lack of governance and little understanding of dependencies.

Working to tight deadlines, Gate One was engaged to help the client take control of the work and set up an implementation programme to prepare for the uncertain future.


Gate One embedded seamlessly within the client team, directly supporting the Brexit Lead, working across stakeholder areas and helping to break down functional silos. We provided the drive to set up, structure and govern the programme, as well as the ability to roll our sleeves up and accelerate problem-solving in certain difficult areas.

  • Agreed a set of assumptions to help control the uncertainty and allow detailed planning without the distraction of the constantly shifting external environment.
  • Brought together a plan showing the critical delivery milestones that would work in all scenarios. This allowed identification of long lead time activities that required an immediate start.
  • Carried out cross-organisational workshops to secure stakeholder buy in at all levels.
  • Communicated the strategy succinctly within the company, and got all those responsible for delivering the change on board.


A clear plan for Brexit, which works in all scenarios, has been approved and is now in progress.

  • A robust governance and assumption-based approach has allowed clear strategic thinking in the face of uncertainty.
  • Regular reporting to the board and executive team provides reassurance, and regular re-assessment of risk appetite allows updates to plans as more information becomes known.
  • Communicating the plan to the organisation has reduced organisational turbulence and boosted stakeholder confidence.

Gate One continues to work with the client in the implementation of their Brexit plan.

In response to the changing Brexit landscape, we provide an agile offering with the ability to flex the team up and down, as well as provide specific subject matter expertise.




Gemma is currently programme manager for the Brexit implementation programme of a large FTSE 100 company. She is responsible for the detailed planning of the programme, reporting to the CEO and providing programme assurance to ensure that the client is ready for Brexit, whatever the outcome.

If you would like to speak to Gate One about how we can help you plan for Brexit, contact Gemma Sarjeant, Principal, on


Alex is a founding partner of Gate One. He has extensive experience of hands-on delivery of high profile, complex global transformation programmes, governance of £multi-billion change portfolios and building organisations’ capability to deliver change themselves.

If you would like to speak to Gate One about how we can help you plan for Brexit, contact Gemma Sarjeant, Principal, on


James leads our Government and Public Services team at Gate One. He has experience across advisory and delivery – working across providers and commissioners – with a focus on strategy, policy and service development.

If you would like to speak to Gate One about how we can help you plan for Brexit, contact Gemma Sarjeant, Principal, on