Hot topics up for discussion at the 2023 EOA Conference | Fieldfisher
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Hot topics up for discussion at the 2023 EOA Conference


United Kingdom

On 27 and 28 November 2023, representatives from Fieldfisher's market-leading Employee Ownership Solutions team will attend the Employee Ownership Association's (EOA) Annual Conference.

This year's conference at the ACC in Liverpool is expected to attract more than 800 delegates from the employee ownership (EO) sector.

In anticipation of the conference, we have set out our take on some of the key developments in the EO sector over the past year.

  • Employee engagement

This year's keynote speech will be given by Graham Cameron and team members from Pennine Healthcare, an SME manufacturer in Derby.

The focus of the speech is expected to be how EO can support the growth of business through increased employee engagement and accountability.

Successful employee-owned businesses often focus on prioritising employees so they can develop and thrive within the business.

Fieldfisher's EO Solutions team has heard from many companies that becoming employee owned has enhanced their work culture and company ethos, as well as resulting in increased employee engagement and satisfaction.

  • The evidence – EO Knowledge Programme 2023

In October 2023, the EOA in partnership with Ownership at Work published the results of the EO Knowledge Programme 2023.

This project, co-sponsored by Fieldfisher, was the most comprehensive UK study on EO benefits ever undertaken and established a new baseline in understanding the scale and impact of the UK EO sector.

The impressive finding that employee-owned businesses (EOBs) are 8% to 12% more productive than non-EOBs (calculated on a Gross Value Added per employee basis) means the scope and impact of the EO sector can be accurately understood for the first time.

Developing good governance

There has been significant growth in the number of companies transitioning to employee ownership.

Statistics published by the EOA state that, as of June 2023, there are 1,418 employee-owned businesses. Growth in the EO sector has largely been facilitated by the employee ownership trust (EOT) with around 90% of EOBs who have converted to EO since 2014 using the EOT model.

As the EOT continues to be the most popular structure of EO, this highlights the need to develop strong foundations for governance and good practice within the sector.

As one of the areas highlighted by the Government as part of the recent consultation on EOTs, we expect that the conditions and controls applicable to the EOT trustee will be at the forefront of the discussions around what 'good governance' looks like for successfully managed EOBs.

Looking forward to 2024

2023 has been a great year for EO and we are excited to discuss the current progress and the developments for 2024. 

If you are attending the EOA conference or would like to discuss EO further with Fieldfisher's market leading EO Solutions Team, please contact us: Mark Gearing, Neil Palmer, Graeme Nuttall OBE, Jessica Kilkelly and Tom Martin.