UK EO Awards Winner: Business gives everyone something to smile about

Empowering employees has caused business performance to rocket for a dental service that treats some of the most vulnerable people in society.

Community Dental Services (CDS), spun out of the NHS 6 years ago when more than 70% of its employees voted to become the first wholly employee-owned dental social enterprise in the UK.

CDS provides dental services via 36 clinics across eight different counties throughout Bedfordshire, Luton, Suffolk, Thetford, Oxfordshire, Leicestershire, Essex and Lincolnshire. Delivering clinical dental and Oral Health Promotion services, it deals with NHS referrals and prides itself in being manage almost any dental emergency or condition which comes through its doors.

CDS’s mission to empower every single individual who works at CDS to have the influence and ability to shape its services for the better has seen exceptional improvements in a truly outstanding year for the business.

UK Employee Ownership Awards judge, Beth Carruthers, Non-Exec Director, Remploy Ltd, said:
“What really struck us about this organisation was their commitment to training and the practical examples they put forward to show autonomous decision making and the impact that made on the business and its success. For example, moving clinic times to suit a certain community and a reward scheme to spot and fill appointment gaps has seen a 30% reduction in missed appointments and gaps in the past year.”

Growth and performance in the past year has including a 39% increase in profit surplus, turnover increase from £7.5million to £12.8 million, growth in employees from 153 to 221 and investment in two additional mobile Dental Surgeries.

During that time CDS has served a community of 5.9million, seen 51,000 patients at 85,000 appointments, including 2000 patients via its mobile dental units, given 33,700 people oral health advice, 7000 children tooth brushing support and trained over 1000 professionals in oral health promotion.

This teamed with 88% of staff saying they would recommend CDS as a place to work, 94% saying CDS believe we embraces equality and diversity and 82% feeling able to contribute as an employee-owned business plus 97% of patients rating their services as good to excellent, tops off a really successful year for the business. UK Employee Ownership Awards judge Ewan Hall, Director at Baxendale, said:

“Every box that you would want to be ticked has been done so by Community Dental Services. They have grown turnover and employees, have 97% satisfaction rate from patients and great employee satisfaction scores. The employees are empowered to make decisions, to be innovative in the way they deliver their outcomes for the patients and the organisations, together meaning it is a great place to work or to go to receive dental services.”