Founded as Job Ownership Ltd [JOL] by journalist Robert Oakeshott in 1979 with the help of companies such as the John Lewis Partnership and international polymers manufacturer Scott Bader, the Employee Ownership Association has been one of the major influences behind the growth of employee ownership in the UK.
Our independent, authoritative work on employee ownership has won us the support of all three main political Parties. We have played a key role in helping shape the tax and legal environment for co-owned businesses.
Founder Robert Oakeshott's book 'Jobs and Fairness' is acknowledged as the definitive study on employee ownership in the UK and overseas.
We participated in the Special Share Task Force and HM Treasury's Advisory Group who worked with the Inland Revenue to devise the Share Incentive Plan and the Enterprise Management Incentive scheme.
The Employee Ownership Association helped to design the Private Members Bill that became the Employee Share Schemes Act 2002. We instigated the Employee Share Alliance in 2001, with the objective of supporting Government legislation introducing the Share Incentive Plan [SIP].
An EOA policy paper, ‘A Stake in the Post’, was described as “the only independent and objective review of this issue” according to Lord Sawyer, speaking in a House of Lords 2006 debate on the future ownership of Royal Mail.
EOA’s ‘Shared Company’ paper was launched in October 2005 by Rt Hon Gordon Brown MP, then the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who described it as a ‘landmark report’.
In February 2007 the EOA’s paper ‘CoCo Companies: Work, Happiness and Employee Ownership’ was launched by then Environment Secretary Rt Hon David Miliband MP and received wide media coverage.
The EOA initiated the formation of a new All Party Parliamentary Group on employee ownership which held its inaugural meeting on 27 June 2007 and published its 'Share Value' report in 2008.
More recent EOA publications have included ‘Innovation included’ by Charlie Leadbeater; ‘From colleagues to owners’ by Andrew Bibby, and ‘The employee ownership effect’ by Matrix Evidence.
EOA’s annual conference has become the national event for companies with significant employee ownership, attracting nearly 250 delegates last year; while the Association’s Summer Dinner has featured recent keynote speakers including Ownership Commission Chair Will Hutton, Kenneth Clarke MP, Vince Cable MP, John Denham MP and John Lewis Partnership chief Charlie Mayfield.