Square Peg HR was launched in 2016 by Carolyn Hughes and Frances McAulay. 

Having been colleagues for several years at a highly successful veterinary services business based in Dunfermline, Frances and Carolyn bonded over their love of all things four-legged and in time decided to take the plunge and go it alone.   We're committed to providing the best service possible to our clients, with our focus on small business and charities.  You'll get the benefit of more than 20 years employment law experience without the legal firm costs, as well as a wealth of recruitment, HR, change management and outplacement expertise.

Meet the Team

Frances McAulay - Director

Frances McAulay

Frances has been an employment lawyer for 20+ years specialising in supporting and advising employers from the private and third sectors. In addition to the basics - contracts of employment, policies, handbooks, discipline and grievance issues - Frances has vast experience in advising on a wide range of employment topics from TUPE, redundancy and discrimination to internal investigations, grievances and dismissals.  Frances regularly appeared at the Employment Tribunal in Scotland and England with a success rate in excess of 90%.

Frances became involved in the third sector through her voluntary work with CVS Fife. She headed up a number of high profile grievance and disciplinary investigations in the third sector which resulted in significant improvements and changes to internal processes and procedures. Frances' involvement with the third sector went beyond her work; she was a Board member of CVS Fife for eight years and chaired the Fife Third Sector Interface for two years during its challenging transition to Fife Voluntary Action, one of Scotland's most successful voluntary sector interfaces. 

Prior to qualifying as a solicitor Frances was an HR professional working in a variety of industries and services. After graduating from Heriot Watt University she progressed from HR Officer with a multinational electronics company to Regional HR Director with one of the largest food service companies before returning to Dundee University where she obtained her law degree.

Having been a Partner for more than 10 years, Frances left private legal practice four and half years ago to join one of her most successful clients, a thriving veterinary group, combining her HR and legal skills as Head of People Services.  Frances works with her clients, understanding their issues and providing them with effective solutions.  If you would like to talk to Frances about any of your HR or people issues, please contact her on frances.mcaulay@squarepeghr.co.uk

Carolyn Hughes - Director

Carolyn Hughes

Carolyn is an OD and talent management professional with 20 years experience of providing resourcing, training and HR consultancy to the private and public sectors.

Graduating from Edinburgh University with an MA in Social Anthropology, Carolyn went on to qualify as a Careers Advisor and began her professional life providing careers education and advice to both adults and secondary school pupils in Tyneside.

She then moved into resourcing and assessment, providing in-house consultancy to a number of large corporate organisations and start-up outsourcing businesses.

Carolyn progressed to senior manager with a FTSE 100 professional services organisation running a business psychology offering across Scotland, North East England and Northern Ireland, working on high profile government and public sector contracts. 

Most recently Carolyn has held a senior management role in a hugely successful veterinary organisation, successfully leading them through their biggest business change management project with positive people-centric results.

Carolyn has a Postgraduate Diploma in Careers Guidance and is currently working towards PG Conversion BSc in Pyschology with a view to moving on to MSc Occupational Psychology.  She is also a member of the British Psychological Society and a Test User: Occupational, Personality (formerly Level A and B) with Level B conversion training in OPQ, Saville Wave and Hogan Suite. Carolyn is also an NLP practitioner and certified in the use of DISC profiling for coaching individuals and teams. If you would like to talk to Carolyn about your requirements, please contact on carolyn.hughes@squarepeghr.co.uk

elaine leitch - employment lawyer

Elaine brings to us over 16 years experience as a qualified lawyer. She was a partner in an Edinburgh-based law firm prior to setting up her own consultancy.  Elaine provides sound, practical and legally compliant employment law and HR solutions to her clients. She has been personally involved in overseeing disciplinary investigations as well as providing valuable support to HR professionals to help guide them through complex disciplinary and grievance issues. Elaine has provided numerous businesses, both large and small, with advice and support on the implications and application of TUPE, as well as redundancy consultation and restructuring.  She has also has sound experience of Tribunal work, with an excellent success rate. She routinely and regularly reviews and audits contracts, and policies and procedures. 

Clients like Elaine's pragmatic approach to problem solving, and she is praised for her approachability and easy way of communication. With an all-round wealth of experience, we are delighted to have Elaine on board as one of the team. 

Beth Thompson - Senior Consultant


Beth has substantial experience in contingency and volume recruitment within various market sectors.   Having implemented and managed national recruitment campaigns from start up to full service roll out, Beth then moved on to work independently with a wide range of industry sector clients.

Beth has extensive experience of talent selection, development and management across a broad spectrum of private and public sector companies. Areas of expertise include recruitment and selection, development and outplacement support for various market sectors including engineering, public sector, contact centre and renewables.

eleanor rutherford - occupational psychologist

Eleanor Rutherford is an occupational psychologist with fifteen years of consultancy experience in the areas of assessment and development, exercise design, training, organisational development, coaching, statistical analysis and quality assurance, psychometrics and equal opportunities/diversity. She has worked with public, voluntary and private sector organisations, with people of all cultures, at all levels, nationally and internationally. She holds BPS level A and B certificates in testing and is accredited to use many different personality measures including the OPQ, 16PF, Wave and Hogan suite.

Eleanor is a chartered psychologist and chartered scientist. She is HPC registered and is an Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society. She is a member of the Division of Occupational Psychology at the BPS and was Chair of the Division of Occupational Psychology Scotland in 2012.