About us

The UK’s employee ownership sector has a combined turnover of between £30-40bn annually. Research shows that the sector is growing rapidly, that it outperformed the conventional business sector during the economic downturn and demonstrates exceptional levels of employee engagement, productivity and standards of governance.

The growing size of the sector and its productivity and corporate governance record make it relevant and topical to evaluate the scope for increasing its impact on both and the wider economy.

Inquiry format

Evidence will be gathered through a series of 7 panel hearings with an independent, business-led panel of experts from business, finance, law, accounting and management, who are not currently close to employee ownership. Find out more about the panel and evidence gathering.

There will also be a call for written evidence that runs concurrently with the hearings.

The oral and written evidence will be gathered from industry experts, advisers and employee owned business leaders.

The Panel’s findings, conclusions and recommendations will be agreed in the Autumn and a final report that outlines in full the potential of employee ownership and its contribution to UK productivity growth and corporate behaviour will be published.

Steering group

The independent business-led Inquiry – led by the EOA, in partnership with the eaga Trust and the UK’s largest employee-owned business the John Lewis Partnership – is supported by Cass and Manchester Business Schools and is chaired by Baroness Bowles of Berkhamsted.


Pictured are Deb Oxley CEO of the EOA, Richard Marr Chief Operating Officer of The eaga Trust, Inquiry Chair Baroness Sharon Bowles and Simon Fowler, Director of Communications of the John Lewis Partnership.

The Chair

Baroness Bowles of Berkhamsted

Baroness Bowles of Berkhamsted – Formerly a Chartered Patent Attorney, Baroness Bowles joined the House of Lords in 2015 as a Liberal Democrat life peer after serving in the European Parliament, as MEP for the South East of England from 2005-2014, including chairing the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs from 2009-2014. Outside the Lords, Baroness Bowles holds a number of non-executive Director roles including with the London Stock Exchange Plc and Prime Collateralised Securities. She also sits on the Regulatory Advisory Group of the London Stock Exchange Group, on the Advisory Group of the Centre of Progressive Capitalism, as a Member of the Systemic Risk Council and on the Advisory Board of the Financial Service Negotiation Forum.

The Partners

Employee Ownership Association

The Employee Ownership Association (EOA) represents organisations which are employee owned or transitioning to employee ownership across the UK.

The EOA is a not for profit and politically independent organisation and its core purpose is to grow employee ownership in the UK.

The EOA works in close partnership with its members to champion, promote and provide insight into the business case for employee ownership. Members benefit from unique learning, networking and trading opportunities across the network of diverse companies of all sizes and sectors.

The eaga Trust

The eaga Trust was set up 1999 for the purpose of promoting employee well-being, engagement and ownership in the workplace in the belief that when employees feel like partners in their business, they deliver better day to day results which in turn produce a profitable, sustainable and fulfilling business to the benefit of all.

John Lewis Partnership

The John Lewis Partnership operates 48 John Lewis shops across the UK, 354 Waitrose shops and business-to-business contracts in the UK and abroad. The business has annual gross sales of over £11bn. It is the UK’s largest example of an employee-owned business where all 86,700 staff are Partners in the business.

Cass Business School

Professor Ajay Bhalla and Dr. Aneesh Banerjee

Professor Ajay Bhalla and Dr. Aneesh Banerjee lead thought leadership initiatives on employee ownership at Cass Business School. Part of City, University of London, Sir John Cass Business School is among the global elite of business schools that hold the gold standard of ‘triple-crown’ accreditation.

Alliance Manchester Business School

Professor Joseph Lampel

Professor Joseph Lampel holds the Eddie Davies Chair in Enterprise in Innovation Management at Alliance Manchester Business School. Professor Lampel has led several research studies on employee ownership over the past ten years. Professor Lampel’s work with Professor Bhalla is widely recognised for the impact it has made on furthering understanding of employee ownership model.