Viv Jebson was invited to answer questions at the Employee Ownership All Party Parliamentary Group inquiry, held at Portcullis House and share the company’s experience of becoming an employee-owned business.
Sutcliffe Play was among three top businesses including the John Lewis Partnership, invited to share information as ‘witnesses’. The information she provided will help to form the basis of a report to be published in May.
The report will set out the benefits of employee ownership, and Viv said she was more than happy to talk about her experiences at the meeting.
Viv comments: “It was a great opportunity to highlight the positives of such a switch. Sutcliffe Play’s employees are stakeholders and our success story since the company went into employee ownership underlines the validity of such a move.
“It was a great opportunity to hear from other company’s with similar experiences and, of course, I was delighted to act as an ambassador for all my colleagues at Sutcliffe Play, who have all worked with such professionalism and total commitment to make ours a success story.”
Questions answered by Viv included the basic steps in moving from private ownership to the employee buy-out, dealing with potential obstacles and managing the transition.
MPs also wanted to know how the government could raise the profile of employee-ownership and what steps they should take to encourage more businesses to consider employee ownership.
Sutcliffe Play became employee-owned in 2010 and at the time the company chairman Robin Sutcliffe said: “It will give Sutcliffe Play an intellectual advantage over our competitors and a unique strength within the marketplace as employee-owned businesses are almost always at the top end of their market and innovation.”
His words and vision have most certainly proved prophetic with first-year financial results in 2011 showing the business exceeded the year’s budget targets, achieving the highest level of profit and turnover in the company’s history.
Carole Leslie, Policy Director at the Employee Ownership Association, was delighted that Viv was able to attend the inquiry and said: “Sutcliffe Play’s success since the transition to employee-owned status underlines the validity of considering such a switch.
“Viv’s wealth of experience was most useful to the MPs and her input will assist in the creation of a detailed report which will be hugely beneficial to those companies considering becoming employee-owned.”